When you’re traveling on the road, safety is paramount and it’s especially important to be aware of those around you that are not in a vehicle. According to the Federal Highway Administration, each year, unfortunately, pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities comprise about 20% of all traffic fatalities with approximately 7,000 pedestrian deaths and 900 bicyclist deaths. Another 76,000 pedestrians and 47,000 bicyclists are injured in roadway crashes annually. These numbers tell a story of why safety tips for drivers are so important.
Driving Tips for Pedestrian Safety
1. Yield to Pedestrians
All road signs and markings are crucial for safety, but especially those intended to protect pedestrians. As a driver who practices defensive driving, it’s important to always be aware of pedestrians as well as pedestrian crossing and yield signs, especially when traveling in a school zone or an area with heavy foot traffic.
2. Slow Down
Speed is a major consideration in avoiding a pedestrian/car accident. According to the CDC, higher vehicle speeds increase both the likelihood of a pedestrian being struck by a car as well as the injury severity. Speeding is considered a bad driving habit and it’s best to stick to the speed limit at all times.
3. Avoid Distracted Driving
It’s no surprise that distracted driving is dangerous. When you’re behind the wheel it’s important to give all of your attention to what’s happening around you and do everything you can to prevent distracted driving. What may surprise you is that distracted driving causes can be inconspicuous. Things like a pet coming along for a joy ride or listening to music while driving may be things that you do without thinking that can distract you from focusing on the road.
4. Double Check Before Turning or Backing Up
Double checking before switching lanes, turning at a red light or backing up can save lives. Fortunately, many of today’s automobiles have car safety features that make this easier.
Driving Tips to Protect Cyclists
1. Share the Road
Sharing the road with bicycles is not only the safe thing to do, but it’s also the law in many states. When there is no bike lane available, bicyclists typically ride alongside vehicles and are required to follow the same rules of the road. It is vital to keep an eye out for cyclists and be mindful they can easily slip into your vehicle’s blind spots.
2. Give Cyclists Space
A general best practice when passing a cyclist is to give a minimum of 3 feet of space between the vehicle and the bicycle. Each state has their own laws regarding the amount of space required when safely passing a bicycle. Check this chart from the National Conference of State Legislatures to see what the law is in your state.
3. Yield to Cyclists in Intersections
At cross streets, the safest choice is to yield to bicycles. Allowing cyclists the right of way avoids any confusion and ensures you know their location and avoid a collision.
4. Know Cyclist Hand Signals
Cyclists often use hand signals to indicate their intentions in much the same way vehicles use turn signals. Having familiarity of these hand symbols will help you understand what a cyclist is communicating to you about where they’re heading.
Does Car Insurance Cover Me if I Hit a Pedestrian or Biker?
Coverage for personal injuries from a bike accident or pedestrian car accident may be available under an auto or umbrella plan. You’ll want to check your insurance policy to determine what coverage policy limits you have.
Accidents aren’t scheduled, it’s best to always be prepared with the right coverage in place. Talk to your Farm Bureau agent today to give you peace of mind that your policy has coverage in the event of an accident with a pedestrian or cyclist.