Did you know that more pedestrians are killed on crosswalks than by jaywalking? And that more pedestrians are killed in Australia than in the United States each year? Now, that’s an unsettling factoid. Obviously, looking both ways before you cross the road isn’t doing the trick anymore. And this begs the question: are you safer walking or driving in Australia, and if you are a pedestrian, what precautions can you take to prevent accidents from happening?
In America, approximately 12.2% of fatal accidents on the road involve pedestrians, while in Australia that number is 15%. That’s a surprising differential, taking into account that the U.S. has over 250,000,000 vehicles whereas Australia only has 16,000,000. While these stats are unsettling, they’re not totally unexpected. After all, in Australia in 2002-2003 pedestrians were 6.4 times more likely to be involved in crashes than other types of transport.
On average, 5 children and 5 seniors (aged over 65) die every year. 25% of all accidents on the road involving children lead to pedestrian fatalities. Aboriginal men are 8 times more likely to be killed on the road than non-indigenous men and native women are 32.5 times more likely to be killed than non-indigenous women. Most shockingly, 1 in 3 pedestrians are killed while simply standing or even lying in the road, rather than trying to cross it – these accidents are typically due to alcohol and drug use.
It’s looking bleak, and the numbers don’t lie. It’s not safer to be a pedestrian on the roads nowadays. Especially not at night, when the majority of pedestrians are killed and drugs or alcohol abuse is often involved. These statistics against those recorded in the U.S. are particularly damning. If a country with a higher population and density of accidents and vehicles on the road has less pedestrian fatalities, then you know it’s time to slow down and take notice. Check out these safety tips, and protect yourself and your loved ones on the road.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
Safety as a pedestrian isn’t a given in Australia. You have to be aware of your surroundings and oncoming traffic at all times. Here are a few tips to help keep you and your children safe:
- Always wear bright and light colours when you’re out on a walk – especially at dusk or dawn. This will help drivers identify you.
- Cross at marked crossings if possible and, if there isn’t a crossing, cross at the safest place and by the shortest route.
- Don’t fiddle on your phone or listen to music while walking, as this will reduce your awareness.
- Try to avoid walking near the road drinking alcohol (still better than driving!), but if you do, walk only on footpaths and cross at crossings.
- If there aren’t any footpaths, walk facing oncoming traffic, so you can judge when there’s danger.
- Be aware when you are near traffic at a crest of a hill or a curve in the road. Have a planned escape route and be prepared.
- Assume that drivers haven’t seen you.
- Learn the rules of the road.
- Carry a flashlight if you walk at night.
- When at a crossing, wait until all the traffic has stopped and check that both lanes have noticed your presence. Walk quickly across the crossing and constantly check for oncoming traffic.
- Try to make eye contact with drivers to ensure that they notice your presence.
Most importantly, check the road constantly. Awareness is always the key to road safety, whether you’re driving or walking on or around the roads. Never assume you’re safe and obey the rules of the road – they are there to make sure accidents don’t happen. Be safe out there!