Have you ever felt unsafe while trying to cross a crosswalk, or have you ever been nervous that a pedestrian is going to dart in front of your vehicle while you’re driving through an intersection? Chances are, you have! Even the best traffic control devices in Vermont can’t prevent accidents between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. Thankfully, there are folks who are working to change that and make the roads safer for everyone. Continue reading to learn more about these safety advances.
What’s being done to improve safety?
Lawmakers and safety administrators recognize that accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles are far too common. For that reason, they’ve started taking action. Here are a few of the things they’ve done so far:
- Data collection: It may seem mundane, but the first step in improving pedestrian and cyclist safety is data collection. Agencies like the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are working together to get the facts and figures surrounding pedestrian accidents. The better our understanding of why accidents happen, the better we’ll be able to prevent them in the future.
- Pedestrian Crash Avoidance and Mitigation (PCAM) systems: Did you know that newer model vehicles are equipped with radar, cameras and lasers that automatically put on the brakes if a pedestrian or cyclist is detected? It sounds like science fiction, but it’s science fact! Hopefully, these PCAM systems will become standard in all future vehicles.
- Video-based bicycle detection systems: The burden for avoiding accidents doesn’t lie solely on drivers—cyclists bear some responsibility, too! The City of Pasadena and some cities in Minnesota recognize this fact and have implemented bicycle detection systems in crosswalks that adjust the crossing time if a bike is detected. Similar traffic control devices in Vermont can drastically cut back on the number of accidents that occur between cyclists and vehicles.
Why is this beneficial for your commute?
The information above is nice to know, especially if you’re in the automotive safety industry, but it doesn’t just apply to select folks out there. Anyone who drives, walks or rides a bike can be impacted by these improvements. Here are a few examples:
- Fewer car accidents: On average, there are about 6 million car accidents each year in the United States. Obviously, they don’t all occur at intersections, and they don’t all involve pedestrians or cyclists. However, improving the safety devices in our vehicles and improving technology in crosswalks can cut down on those accidents.
- Safer crosswalks and intersections: The bicycle detection systems mentioned above, along with other “smart” crosswalk systems, will make crossing the street safer than ever. Longer red lights mean more time for you to cross the road without worrying about a driver speeding through the intersection.
- Smoother traffic flow: We don’t have to tell you that car accidents disrupt traffic flow, even bringing it to a standstill in some situations. If we can reduce the number of accidents that occur each day on the road, you can bet that traffic flow will be smoother and your commute will be faster each morning.
In the years to come, let’s hope that we’ll all be safer while on the roads and sidewalks. But for now, be sure to keep your eyes on the road and always check both ways before crossing the street!