Pedestrian Safety

Preventing Pedestrian Injuries

"...all of us—repeatedly get away with small mistakes, and tend to be overconfident while driving, often even multi-tasking. It might sound trivial, but the fact is that every day some among us don't "get away" with the small mistakes and then the weight and speed of the vehicle magnifies the small error into a tragic crash."

Family of Hannah Wagstaff, a 14-year-old pedestrian hit and killed by a truck

Safety Tips for Drivers

  • Slow down and use caution in residential areas, around schools, playgrounds, parks, or other areas where children and pedestrians are common.
  • If a vehicle has stopped at a crosswalk (either marked or unmarked), all vehicles must also stop to allow a pedestrian to cross.
  • Drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing at intersections (a crosswalk exists at every intersection regardless of whether or not it is painted) or in any other marked crosswalk.
  • When exiting a parking lot or driveway, stop before the sidewalk and yield the right-of-way to any pedestrians on the sidewalk before crossing over the sidewalk.
  • Vehicles making a left or right turn on a green light must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian in a marked or unmarked crosswalk within the intersection.
  • When turning right on a red light, come to a complete stop and look to the right for pedestrians crossing the street in front of your vehicle.
  • Vehicles must stop at the “stop line” in front of a crosswalk, and not in the crosswalk.

Safety Tips for Pedestrians

  • Always look left-right-left before crossing any street and continue to look for vehicles as you cross.
  • Do not stand in the street while waiting to cross.
  • Just because you are using a crosswalk, does not mean that a driver will see or even stop for you.
  • When crossing at a marked crosswalk, push the pedestrian signal button. It will give you more time before the traffic light turns green.
  • If a sidewalk exists, use it. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic along the shoulder of the roadway.
  • If crossing a road with several lanes and a vehicle in the closest lane has stopped to allow you to cross, make sure vehicles in other lanes see you and stop for you as well before proceeding.
  • Look out for vehicles entering or exiting a parking lot or driveway.
  • Dress to be seen. Brightly colored clothing may make you a little more visible to drivers during daylight hours, but during nighttime hours, bright and even white clothing does little to enhance your visibility to drivers. Instead, wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight.

Green Ribbon Month

Green Ribbon Month is an annual Utah pedestrian safety program held in September. The program was launched in 1998 by the Davis County Safe Kids Coalition. The goal of Green Ribbon Month is to prevent children from being hit by motor vehicles in school zones and crosswalks. Although the program started in one county, it was so successful it quickly spread across the state.

Drivers pledge to drive slowly in school zones and residential areas. Students pledge to walk on sidewalks, look both ways before crossing the street, and to cross at crosswalks. Parents pledge to educate their children about pedestrian safety. Schools provide safety education, assemblies, and other pedestrian safety activities. Government officials, police agencies, and transportation agencies also participate to increase pedestrian safety.

Green ribbons are displayed on signs, cars, people, fences, trees, and poles to remind drivers to watch out for children and reduce speed in school zones and residential areas. Green was chosen to coincide with the fluorescent yellow-green color of pedestrian and school crossing signs. Contact your local health department to see if your school or community is participating.