CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Authorities in Clearfield County are urging mutual respect between drivers and pedestrians by outlining key tips to ensure everyone’s safety.
“Just about everyone is a pedestrian at some point during the day,” DuBois City Police Corporal Orlando Prosper said. “We might have driven to work or school, but we’re still a pedestrian when we cross the parking lot or the street to get inside our building. That’s why it’s critical for everyone to understand their responsibilities as a driver and as a pedestrian while sharing the road so they can do their part to keep roadway users safe.”
Law enforcement statewide are on the lookout for drivers who fail to yield for pedestrians and pedestrians that fail to obey traffic signs and signals, according to PennDOT.
Prosper said vehicle code allows pedestrians to cross the street at any point, but there are some distinctions. When a pedestrian crosses the street in a crosswalk, the driver must yield to the pedestrian. Conversely, if a pedestrian crosses the street not at an intersection or where there is no crosswalk, the pedestrian must yield to vehicles. When crossing at signalized intersections, both pedestrians and motorists must obey the traffic control devices that identify who must yield.
Prosper also explained the following nuances of the vehicle code pertaining to the rights and duties of pedestrians:
- Drivers are not required to yield until you begin to step into the crosswalk
- Pedestrians should not walk or run unexpectedly into the path of a moving vehicle. Pedestrians should not assume drivers will see or yield. Look left, right, and left again before stepping out
- It is illegal for drivers to pass a vehicle that is stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, as the second driver may not see the pedestrian in the crosswalk
- When walking along a road with sidewalks and its use is practicable, it is unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway
Trauma, Outreach, and Injury Prevention Coordinator for Penn Highlands DuBois Kara Bauer said she has witnessed the life-altering or life-ending consequences of pedestrian crashes during her time as a nurse. She offered the following safety tips so no one else suffers similar consequences:
Tips for Pedestrians:
- Cross only at crosswalks. Don’t cross between parked cars.
- Look left, right then left again and keep looking
- Wait for a gap in traffic, then step one foot off the curb or fully enter the crosswalk and make eye contact with approaching drivers
- Always obey traffic signs and signals, especially pedestrian count down timers
- See and be seen – drivers need to see you to avoid you. Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective materials at night. Also, carry a flashlight at night
- Watch for turning vehicles at intersections, even if you have the right-of-way and are proceeding lawfully
- Watch your children. Children can’t judge a vehicle’s speed and distance and need the help of an adult to be safe
- On streets with multiple lanes in each direction, be aware of what drivers in both near lanes are doing. If one driver is allowing you to cross, the other might not see you
- If no sidewalk is available, walk as far on the side of the road as you can, and always walk against traffic
- Always be aware of your surroundings and never get distracted
Tips for Motorists:
- Slow down when approaching a crosswalk or intersection. Watch for pedestrians and be prepared to yield to them
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks – the law requires motorists to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks at signalized and non-signalized intersections
- Travel at a prudent speed. Don’t try to beat the light
- Watch for mid-block crosswalks. Pedestrians have the right-of-way in mid-block crosswalks, so yield to them
- Expect the unexpected – lookout for children who may dart out between cars or buses or cross mid-block without a crosswalk
- Drivers on streets with multiple lanes in each direction should be aware that pedestrians may be crossing all lanes
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PennDOT reported that in 2020, there were 2,743 crashes involving at least one pedestrian statewide, resulting in 146 fatalities. Two of those crashes occurred within DuBois City limits, however, neither resulted in death. Between January 2015 and December 2020, there were 15 crashes involving at least one pedestrian within DuBois City limits resulting in three deaths.