Proper precautions for pedestrian safety

Last Modified: 9/07/2022

pedestrian safety

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2020, nearly 7,000 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 55,000 were injured nationwide. To help bring awareness of the potential risks and keep wayfarers safe, Lisa Hollister, DNP, MSN, RN, LSSBB, administrative director, Trauma Systems, Parkview Trauma Centers, reviews the dos and don’ts of pedestrian safety and the precautions motorists can take while driving.

Precautions for pedestrians

As you or your loved ones head out the door for work, school or a daily walk, be sure to consider taking these steps to keep everyone safe as you venture out:


  • Follow the rules of the road and obey all signs and signals, including crosswalks.
  • Increase your visibility by wearing bright colors, reflective clothing or carrying a flashlight when walking at night.
  • Walk on sidewalks or paths whenever possible. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from the road as possible.
  • Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections and look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right. If a crosswalk or intersection isn’t available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in the traffic flow that allows plenty of time to cross safely and remember to keep an eye on traffic as you go.
  • Always look for cars entering or exiting driveways and backing up in parking lots.


  • Avoid using electronic devices like phones or earbuds. They can be distracting when walking.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs as they impair your abilities, coordination and judgment.
Safety tips for drivers

Drivers must also do their part to share the road and walkways by practicing safe driving behaviors. Doing so will help maintain a safe environment for everyone. So, before putting your vehicle in gear, be sure to follow these precautions when driving near pedestrians:


  • Always be alert and look for pedestrians.
  • Always follow the rules of the road and obey all signs and signals.
  • Obey crossing guards, traffic officers and police officers.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or entering a crosswalk.
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop a reasonable distance from the crosswalk so other vehicles can see the crossing pedestrians too.
  • Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, including nighttime or bad weather.
  • Always go the speed limit or slower, especially in school zones, parks, and neighborhoods where children are present and around people on the street.
  • Take extra caution when backing up and always look for pedestrians.


  • Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing where you can’t see.
  • Never pass a stopped school bus regardless of the direction of approach. They could be dropping off or picking up passengers.
  • Never use your phone or electronic devices while driving.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.


For more on pedestrian safety, visit:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Share the Road

School Bus Safety

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