The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns that dark commutes increase the risk of accidents as the clocks go back an hour and the seasons change. About 40 percent of all fatal pedestrian accidents occur around dusk or dawn — with 1 in 4 fatalities occurring between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m.
Cites across the nation are struggling with the issue of pedestrian safety — Nashville just conducted a week-long awareness campaign in September. As residents have turned to walking in greater numbers — whether for recreation, fitness or economics — the risk of serious or fatal accidents continues to climb.
The government reports that a pedestrian is killed in a traffic accident every two hours and someone is injured every 8 minutes. In 2008, a total of 4,378 pedestrians were killed and more than 69,000 were injured. Tennessee pedestrian accidents killed 60 people that year.
The government offers the following safety tips for pedestrians and motorists:
-Slow down. Darkness increases reaction time.
-Don’t assume a pedestrian can hear you.
-Keep windshield and mirrors clean and in good repair. Make sure windshield fluid is full and that wipers and defrosters are working properly.
-Carry a flashlight and use reflective tape or wear reflective clothing.
-Don’t depend on traffic signals to keep you safe.
-Avoid jaywalking. Don’t cross between parked cars.
-Walk facing traffic.
-Use sidewalks whenever possible.
If you or a loved one is injured or killed in a vehicle or pedestrian accident in Tennessee, contact Knoxville Accident Attorney Mark Hartsoe for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (877) 472-5657.