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With the unseasonably warm temperatures in the upper Midwest, many are getting out and enjoying a nice walk. But before you head outside, keep in mind some sobering statistics and helpful safety tips.

Pedestrian accidents are on the rise in Iowa in 2011, though officials aren’t sure why. 23 pedestrians were struck and killed on Iowa roads in 2011, in addition to the more than 500 pedestrians who were injured. Over the past decade, more than 47,000 pedestrians have been killed on U.S. roadways.

According to the NHTSA, approximately ¾ of pedestrian fatalities occurred in urban settings and in non-intersections. Somewhat surprisingly, almost 90% of pedestrian fatalities occurred during good weather conditions. However, the majority of pedestrian fatalities happened at night. With those statistics in mind, here are some tips to keep in mind for the next time you or a loved one heads out for a stroll:

  • Use marked crosswalks where available. Be sure to look both ways before entering the crosswalk. Don’t assume that because you can see a driver, the driver sees you. If a parked vehicle is blocking your view, walk to the edge line of vehicle and check both ways before entering the intersection.
  • Take extra precautions at night. Wear reflective clothing, carry a flashlight and/or wear a headlamp.
  • Walk on sidewalks. If there is no sidewalk, walk against traffic (on the left-side of the street).
  • Set pedestrian safety rules for your kids. Children under 10 shouldn’t cross streets alone. Make sure school kids know proper bus safety.

Pedestrians – individuals travelling by foot, wheelchair, stroller or the like – are among the most vulnerable users of the road. So regardless of whether you as a pedestrian are following the rules of the road, remain vigilant and never assume automobiles see you or that they will yield.

Think about it.

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