Tuesday, Jul 29th

Last updateMon, 28 Jul 2014 7am

You are here: Home Opinion Paula I. Bryant Wise walking

Wise walking

Several pedestrians have had a few close calls in the Town of Halifax recently catching the attention of Halifax Police Chief Kevin Lands and Town Manager Carl Espy.

Halifax officials plan to promote pedestrian safety awareness in the coming weeks as the spring and summer weather will bring an increase in people out and about walking.

This week the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is reminding pedestrians to stay safe while walking and urges walkers to use caution and take measures to stay safe.

Statistics from Virginia’s Highway Safety Office show a 35 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities in 2012 – some 101 deaths - compared to 2011 when there were 75 fatalities. 

A total of 57 percent of the fatalities occurred between the hours of 3 p.m. and midnight, and 33 percent of the pedestrian fatalities are attributed to the pedestrian drinking.

Statistics indicate the majority of pedestrian fatalities are happening in urban areas where there is more foot traffic in a given day.

In 2012, 30 percent of pedestrian fatalities were ages 51 to 65, and 28 percent were ages 21 to 35. Prince William County, Fairfax County and Chesterfield County recorded the highest number of pedestrian fatalities. 

DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, Governor McDonnell’s highway safety representative, points out these types of incidents can happen just as easily in more rural areas where crosswalks may not be as readily available, and there’s less street lighting.

DMV offers the following tips to help walkers stay safe:

Don’t walk distracted.

Distracted walking can be as dangerous as distracted driving and is emerging as an issue as more people use smartphones.  Talking on the phone, texting and listening to music while walking can make it harder for a person to pay attention to what’s going on around them.  

Don’t walk after consuming alcohol.

Drinking and walking can be as dangerous as drinking and driving, as a person who has been drinking may not be aware of surroundings and may walk in front of traffic.  

Use a crosswalk and walk against traffic.

Not crossing at an intersection or crosswalk is the leading cause of pedestrian fatalities.  Use a crosswalk whenever available.  Drivers are more likely to be expecting walkers in a crosswalk.  When walking or jogging, make sure to walk against traffic so you can see what’s in front of you.

Wear proper clothing.

When walking, wear light colors so motorists can see you; when walking at night, wear reflective clothing and consider carrying a flashlight to make yourself more visible to drivers.