Police stress pedestrian safety as December approaches

DOVER — Two dozen people have died this year walking on Delaware roads. And with more than a month left in the year, police wouldn’t be surprised if the number of pedestrian fatalities increase.

“December can be a high month for pedestrians but not always,” according to Sgt. Richard D. Bratz, Delaware State Police director of public information.

“Last year there were two pedestrian deaths in December. However in December 2014, there were seven pedestrian deaths.”

As of Monday, Delaware has seen 24 pedestrian fatalities in 2016. That’s down from 2015 when the state had 36 fatalities for the entire year.

The Delaware State Police encourages pedestrians to make smart and safe decisions when walking near roads.

“Traffic safety in Delaware, particularly pedestrian safety is one of our highest priorities,” Sgt. Bratz said. “The pedestrian safety tips provided may be very beneficial to shoppers during the year, especially in December.”

Safety tips include:

• Do not walk under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Impaired walking is like impaired driving; it is illegal and can be deadly.

• Teach children not to run into the street after balls or other toys, and don’t allow them to cross alone until you’ve practiced the basics with them.

• Carry a flashlight or other reflective item when walking at night. It’s the law.

• Do not step into a cross walk if it will create a hazard to motorists. When it is clear to cross, continue to watch for traffic while crossing the street until you have safely reached the other side.

• Be sure to evaluate the distance and speed of oncoming traffic before you step out into the street to ensure that a vehicle has adequate distance in which to stop safely.

• Use sidewalks. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far off the edge of the road as possible.

• Do not risk crossing outside of a cross walk or intersection just because it’s more convenient, especially on high-speed roadways. Cars cannot stop in time for you.

• Cross only at cross walks or intersections with signals or traffic signs. Look left, right, and left again. Only start to cross when it’s clear.

• Make eye contact with drivers when crossing busy streets and continue to watch out for traffic the entire time you are in the crosswalk. Your life may depend on it, regardless whether or not you have the right of way.

• If your vehicle breaks down on an interstate or busy roadway, don’t leave your vehicle. Instead call #77 or 911 for assistance. Motorists can also call #77 to report a disabled vehicle they see on the roadways.

Police urge both drivers and pedestrians to be observant.

Police are focusing on areas where most of the recent crashes involving pedestrians occurred:

• U.S. 40 (Pulaski Highway) in the areas of Church and Walther roads, Newark

• U.S. 13 (DuPont Parkway) at the intersection of Llangollen Boulevard, New Castle

• Del. 1 (Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway), Smyrna

• Del. 2 (Kirkwood Highway) in the area of Limestone and Duncan roads, Newport and Elsmere

• U.S. 13 (Philadelphia Pike) in the area of Washington Street and Harvey Road, Bellefonte and Ardentown

• I-95 John F. Kennedy (Delaware Turnpike)

• Old Baltimore Pike in the area of Hanna Drive, Newark

• Del. 41 (Lancaster Pike) in the area of Lora Lane, Newark

• I-495 (Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway), Newport

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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