It was her first concert and the Greyhound bus dropped her off on an evening scheduled stop on U.S. 23. She called home on her cell phone, as she crossed the dark highway. She was 18 and never saw the truck . . .
The numbers are still coming in for 2015, but everything so far points to last year as being one of the most dangerous years for pedestrians says the Insurance Journal. It is estimated that about 15% of fatalities in 2015 were pedestrians. About a decade ago the average was about 10% to 11% per year.
About 42% of the pedestrian fatalities occurred in the states with large metropolitan centers: California, Florida, Texas and New York.
But as the photo below shows, pedestrians can show up where you least expect them.
There seem to be blind people out there trying to drive, and there are blind people out there trying to walk. Turn on your lights so they can see you coming. Dress in contrast to the pavement so the drivers can see you. Frances Eckhardt, Vancouver
In 2015 the National Safety Council (NSC) added a new category called cellphone-distracted walking when tracking unintentional deaths and injuries. NSC estimates that between 2000 and 2011 more than 11,000 people were injured while walking and talking on their phones.
“Cellphone use reduces situational awareness. You are unaware that you are unaware. Peripheral vision drops by 10 percent when you’re using a mobile device, enough to miss a traffic light or an oncoming car. That pulls our attention away and results in unsafe behavior.” Lisa Kons, Minnesota Safety Council.
So many people walking and texting has led to a new word —petextrian. People are literally bumping into things, not watching where they are going, while interacting with their electronic devices.
(A countermeasure is a measure or action taken to counter or offset another one.)
There is an interesting phenomenon every commercial truck driver notices sooner or later in their career. . . the larger the truck you drive, the more invisible it seems to become.
The only effective solution to this cloak of invisibility are basic defensive driving practices such as those of the Smith System:
- Aim High In Steering ® — Looking further ahead than other drivers
- Get The Big Picture ® — Seeing more around you than other drivers
- Keep Your Eyes Moving ® — Being more aware than other drivers
- Leave Yourself An Out ® — Positioning in traffic better than other drivers
- Make Sure They See You ® — Making yourself more visible than other drivers
Learning to effectively manage time and space is the key to defensive driving. For example, if you don’t have six seconds following distance, the vehicle ahead might be able to swerve around someone, but you will not have enough time to anticipate the danger and respond in an appropriate manner.
Another tool is the active practice of mindfulness while driving: focusing on one thing in the moment.
- Set all distractions aside
- Give driving your full attention
- Do not to judge anything that you’re experiencing. It is what it is.
- Enjoy the journey.
Thank you for reading this.