AAA: Pedestrians, Bicyclists and Motorists Should Follow Simple Steps to Prevent Collisions | Events

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AAA: Pedestrians, Bicyclists and Motorists Should Follow Simple Steps to Prevent Collisions
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Better weather requires your full attention and more sharing of the roads

As the sun starts to shine and the warm weather invites more outdoor activity: AAA Northern New England urges everyone to follow traffic safety laws and use good common sense to prevent injuries and fatalities.  The transition from winter to spring results in motorists sharing the road with more pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcycles.

“This time of year our sidewalks and road conditions can be treacherous, said Pat Moody manager of public affairs AAA Northern New England. “Our roads are riddled with pot holes and frost heaves and lined with snow banks and puddles. The conditions can sometimes funnel pedestrians into the roadway and  cause bicycles, motorcycles and automobiles to swerve unpredictably or lose control due to road hazards.” 

When it comes to traffic safety, “man versus machine” usually does not end well.  Speed plays a big role in determining the risk of severe injury or death when a car hits a pedestrian.  A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study showed that the risk of a person dying from being hit by a car increases from 10 percent when the car is going 23 mph to 90 percent when the car is going 58 mph.  Injury rates follow a similar curve:  A pedestrian hit by a car moving at 16 mph has about a 10 percent chance of being injured; this increases to 90 percent when a car is going 46 mph.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrians were one of the few groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities in the United States in 2011, totaling 4,432 deaths.  On average, a pedestrian is killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes.

Bicycle safety is equally important.  Many crashes involving cars and bicycles occur because motorists and bicyclists fail to give each other enough space on shared roads. 

AAA Northern New England offers the following tips for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists:

Pedestrians

Stay off the road when possible.

  • Monitor the traffic around you so you can assess the risks you face.
  • Never assume a driver will give you the right of way. Make every effort to make eye contact with a stopped or approaching vehicle before entering the roadway.
  • Eliminate distractions such as cell phones and iPods.
  • Wear reflective clothing when walking at night and walk in well-lit areas.
  • Stay on sidewalks whenever possible. If a sidewalk is not available be sure to walk on the far side of the road facing oncoming traffic to increase your visibility and awareness.

Bicyclists

Ride as far to the right as safely and reasonably as you can.

  • Don’t hug the pavement edge where debris or gravel might cause you to swerve into traffic.
  • Always check over your shoulder and signal your intentions, even when just changing position in a lane.
  • Ride on the street—not the sidewalk—and in the direction of traffic.
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and obey all the rules of the road.

Drivers

Don’t be distracted. Of the distractions most often cited in crash reports – adjusting controls, passengers, cell phones, eating/drinking and objects in the car.

  • Don’t text and drive.  A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study determined texting while driving is a triple threat – visual, physical and cognitive. It takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off driving safely.
  • Slow down, especially in areas with a lot of pedestrian traffic.
  • Check mirrors and blind spots for bicycles before turning, changing lanes or opening car doors.
  • When passing a cyclist, reduce speed and give plenty of space.
  • Always signal your turns.
  • Never honk your horn at a bicyclist.  They could be startled and swerve off the road or into traffic.
  • Expect the unexpected.  A pedestrian or bicyclist can dart into the street in front of you without warning.
  • Drive sober. Alcohol-impaired drivers make up about one-third of all motor vehicle deaths resulting in an average of one death every 45 minutes in the United States.  Always designate a sober driver if you plan to drink.

For more tips visit www.sharetheroad.aaa.com

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As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services.  Operating 18 offices throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, AAA Northern New England is a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying corporation and serves as an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.  AAA Northern New England can be visited on the Internet at www.AAA.com

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