Delaware pedestrian safety campaign continues thru Jan. 30

Walking in unlit or dark conditions is a factor in high percentage of crashes
January 19, 2022

The Delaware Office of Highway Safety’s Walk Smart, Arrive Alive campaign is running statewide through Sunday, Jan. 30,  expanding its reach and impact on some of the most at-risk pedestrian populations in the state.

This communications campaign aims to discourage risky pedestrian activities and encourage the adoption of safer walking habits that can prevent injuries and potentially save lives.

“As pedestrian traffic increases and more motorists are on the road during the dark hours of the winter, everyone has a responsibility to watch out for each other,” said Kimberly Chesser, Delaware Office of Highway Safety director. “Pedestrians face greater risk of harm when they are not paying attention to street signs, walking at night without a flashlight or walking while impaired. Our goal is to get our message in front of pedestrians and drivers – in the places where they work, live and play – to eliminate the dangerous behaviors that impact pedestrian safety.”

The DART Wi-Fi sponsorship, Walk Smart, Arrive Alive, includes statewide advertisements at key DART Transit stops focused on bringing awareness of the dangerous walking habits that put pedestrians, drivers and cyclists at risk of crashes.

The campaign targets pedestrians with digital ads, paid and organic social media, public relations and grassroots outreach.

Kent and Sussex counties are roughly equal in the number of pedestrian crashes year-round; however, Sussex County tends to see an uptick during the summer months due to more residents and visitors heading to beach communities. 

Data continues to show that New Castle County has a disproportionately higher number of pedestrian crashes. 

Pedestrian crashes peak around the evening rush hour, with the period of 5 to 7 p.m. having the greatest number of crashes. The period from 7 to 9 p.m. has the second-highest pedestrian crash rate.

The most common factors contributing to pedestrian crashes involve individuals being under the influence, crossing outside of crosswalks, and wearing dark-colored clothing. In 2021 in Delaware, walking in unlit or dark conditions was a contributing factor in 80 percent of pedestrian crashes.

OHS offers the following guidelines while walking along Delaware’s roadways:

  • Be visible. When walking at night, carry a flashlight, avoid wearing dark clothing, wear reflective items.
  • Avoid distractions. Turn off handheld devices when crossing the street.
  • Cross lawfully. Cross only at crosswalks or intersections with signals or traffic signs.
  • Be predictable. Follow the rules, and obey signs and signals.
  • Look carefully. Watch for cars coming from all directions.
  • Use sidewalks. If there isn’t one, walk facing traffic and as far from vehicles as possible.
  • Be patient. Wait for cars to stop before stepping into a crosswalk.
  • Be sober. Do not walk under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Never assume. Make sure drivers see you by making eye contact before walking.

OHS offers the following guidelines while driving along Delaware’s roadways:

  • Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times.
  • Use extra caution when driving in low-visibility conditions, such as nighttime or bad weather.
  • Avoid distractions. Do not use handheld devices.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or when entering a crosswalk.
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from them to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
  • Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing where you can’t see.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street, in school zones and in neighborhoods where children are present.
  • Be extra cautious when backing up and look for pedestrians.

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