The pandemic slowed down most of the country in 2020, but unfortunately, the traffic fatality rate didn’t diminish. In Lake County alone, there were 47 crash-related deaths, up about nine percent from 2018. But even small efforts can make a big impact, and new approaches to road safety will help prevent accidents. Learn how to make your neighborhood crosswalks safer with these ideas.
Clear the View
When drivers can’t see the warnings, they have much less time to react to danger. Something as simple as cutting back overgrown greenery and trees can give oncoming cars a clearer view of the streets and crosswalks. Maintaining traffic signs is also key for road safety. If they’re obscured or damaged, they can’t serve their purpose. Keeping signs free from mud, graffiti, and bird droppings will optimize their visibility. Communities can pitch in by weeding vegetation and wiping down surfaces, or reporting to municipalities when signs need maintenance.
Shed More Light
Installing more safety signals at crosswalks makes them harder to overlook, especially if they have flashing lights. Some uncontrolled intersections use buttons that pedestrians push when they want to cross, which triggers the alert. Rectangular rapid flash beacons can feature “presence” movement detectors, and can be equipped for solar energy. Make sure the painted zebra stripes are fresh and reflective at all hours. And most pedestrian accidents happen at night, so streetlights can make it safer for both pedestrians and drivers.
If the visual warnings aren’t enough, you can try other measures to make your neighborhood crosswalks safer. Installing speed humps before and after intersections can “wake up” drowsy and distracted drivers with a solid jolt. Rubber speed humps are easy to install and relocate if necessary.
When streets are wide enough, a pedestrian island or “refuge” gives them more time to cross between cars. Not everyone travels at the same pace, whether they’re in a vehicle or not. Your neighbors with disabilities can move forward when they’re comfortable, and a midpoint in the intersection is a chance for all pedestrians to reassess how quickly cars are approaching.