April 4 was National Walking Day, but the simple act of walking comes with a big caveat of caution in the Las Vegas Valley. Pedestrian accidents in Las Vegas were up 80 percent in 2012, according to Metro police officials.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is doing its part to monitor traffic at problem intersections with the Southern Nevada Traffic Task Force.
Pedestrians and drivers in the Vegas area can follow some simple tips to stay safe on the road.
To stay safe, keep the following NHTSA pedestrian safety tips in mind:
- Always use sidewalks or walking paths; if there is no sidewalk, walk FACING traffic and as far to the left of the road as possible.
- Cross only at corners using traffic signals and crosswalks; never cross in the middle of a block.
- Before crossing the street, make eye contact with a stopped driver. This lets the driver know you are crossing and helps you confirm that the driver is paying attention.
- If walking at night, wear reflective gear so drivers can see you.
Drivers: Take Care
When you’re behind the wheel, some safety tips from the Highway Safety Research Center may help you avoid an accident involving a pedestrian.
- Pedestrians can be very hard to see, and can seem to come out of nowhere — especially in bad weather or at night. Keep a lookout and slow down if you can’t see clearly.
- When entering a crosswalk area, drive slowly and be prepared to stop.
- Stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk, even if it is not marked. When you stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, stop well back so that drivers in the other lanes can also see the pedestrian in time to stop.
- Do not overtake and pass other vehicles stopped for pedestrians.
- When you are turning, you often will have to wait for a “gap” in traffic. Beware that while you are watching for that “gap,” pedestrians may have moved into your intended path.
- Be especially attentive around schools and in neighborhoods where children are active.
Nationally, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration projects that more than 50,000 pedestrians will be involved in a traffic crash this year.
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