Road design plays a pivotal role in shaping how road users interact with each other. It can also protect the most vulnerable group – pedestrians – by allowing them to cross roads safely.
Thus, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has developed a list of proven safety countermeasures to reduce fatal pedestrian crashes.
How to enhance crosswalk visibility
The FHWA recognizes that marked crosswalks may not be enough to combat deadly hazards on the road. There can be unforeseen and significant dangers that necessitate additional layers of protection. Depending on the circumstances of each case, they claim that crosswalk visibility upgrades can lessen pedestrian accidents by as much as 48%.
- Improved lighting conditions, especially at night, should illuminate the pedestrian by placing lights in strategic locations and avoid creating a silhouette that would confuse drivers.
- Highly reflective crosswalk markings, which must be thermoplastic tape instead of paint, should be visible to both drivers and pedestrians, especially at uncontrolled intersections.
- “Yield” or “Stop” signages, as well as pavement markings, should be placed at least a few feet in advance of marked crosswalks as right-of-way reminders.
Further, the FHWA highlights other elements, such as “refuge islands,” that can shield pedestrians from harm by up to 56%. These areas between opposing traffic lanes provide a space for pedestrians to wait until it is safe to reach the other side of the road.
Why design improvements are crucial
Design improvements signal that communities continuously seek ways to keep citizens safe. As new threats surface, fresh interventions serve as protective systems. However, irresponsible drivers can still harm pedestrians. When this happens, victims have their Tennessee counsel to aggressively advocate for their rights and guide them to safety.