Highway Patrol Emphasizes Pedestrian Safety With Halloween, Time Change

COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Department of Public Safety is urging pedestrians to remember a few important steps that could save their lives or their children’s lives in preparation for Halloween and daylight saving time, which begins November 1.

Pedestrian fatalities are higher than last year at this time. There have  been 91 pedestrian fatalities this year compared to 84 in 2014 (as of October 29).

Historically, statistics show that the leading time for fatal crashes in South Carolina is 6 p.m.-Midnight and the leading day is Saturday with Friday night being second.

“One of the most important steps you can take as a pedestrian is to dress properly by ensuring you wear light or reflective clothing to be seen by vehicles,” said SCDPS Director Leroy Smith. “We are urging parents and anyone planning to be out after dark to Be Safe. Be Seen.”

A study conducted by the SC Highway Patrol found that pedestrians in dark clothing left drivers only about 100 to 175 feet to recognize and react with speeds as low as 25 mph compared to distances of approximately 400 feet when the pedestrian was dressed in reflective clothing. The study also found that pedestrians overestimate the likelihood that they can be seen and the distances at which they believe the motorists can spot them.

South Carolina Highway Patrol Colonel Mike Oliver said, “Know the law. Except under rare circumstances, pedestrians cannot walk legally in the roadway. The vehicle has the right-of-way in most situations where a shoulder or sidewalk is available.”

The Highway Patrol offers the following safety tips for the motorist and pedestrian:

Motorists:

  • use high beams at night when possible, especially on poorly lit, rural roads;
  • scan ahead for pedestrian activity and be prepared to react – avoid distractions in your vehicle that may take your eyes off the  roadway;
  • adjust speed on poorly lit, rural roadways where the majority of fatal pedestrian collisions occur.
  • if you hit an object in the roadway and are unsure what you hit, stop and check.

Pedestrians:

  • Pedestrians  should always wear retro-reflective or white clothing at dusk or night and brightly colored clothing with retro-reflective materials during daylight;
  • Place retro-reflective material on areas of movement such as elbows, knees, and ankles in addition to the wrists and chest.
  • Walk facing traffic and out of the roadway when possible; if there is no shoulder on the roadway, walk as close to the edge of roadway as possible.

SECTION 56-5-3160. Pedestrians on highways.

  • (a) Where a sidewalk is provided and its use is practicable, it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway.
  • (b) Where a sidewalk is not available any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall walk only on a shoulder as far as practicable from the edge of the roadway.
  • (c) Where neither a sidewalk nor a shoulder is available, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall walk as near as practicable to an outside edge of the roadway and, if on a two-way roadway, shall walk only on the left side of the roadway.
  • (d) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any pedestrian upon a roadway shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

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