Attention called to pedestrian safety


Virginia State Police Offer Lifesaving Pedestrian & Driving Tips

RICHMOND – Virginia State Police is stressing pedestrian safety, following an alarming uptick in pedestrian deaths on Virginia roads.  Since Feb. 11, 2024, there have been ten pedestrians killed across the Commonwealth.  The fatalities have occurred in the counties of Prince William (2), Henrico, Chesterfield, Albemarle, Fairfax, Pittsylvania, Loudoun, Wythe, and the City of Virginia Beach.  Preliminary data shows there have been 19 pedestrian deaths in Virginia so far this year.

The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Office has multiple recommendations for pedestrians to increase their safety when walking near traffic1:

  • Be predictable, follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
  • Plan a route with safe crossings.
  • Avoid distractions, alcohol and drugs, and be alert.
  • Dress to be seen, but never assume drivers see you.
  • Wear reflective clothing and carry a blinking light or flashlight at night.
  • Walk on sidewalks facing traffic.
  • If there’s no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
  • Watch for cars backing up, especially in parking lots and driveways.
  • Cross at crosswalks or intersections – where drivers expect pedestrians. While crossing, look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right, and make eye contact with turning drivers before proceeding when possible.
  • Turning vehicles can be especially dangerous at intersections. If there is no crosswalk or intersection, go to a well-lit area with the best view of traffic, wait until there is enough time to cross safely, and continue to watch for traffic while crossing.

Drivers have a role to play in pedestrian safety as well.   According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers should always look for pedestrians, and use extra caution in hard-to-see conditions.  Drivers should also slow down and be prepared to stop when entering a crosswalk.  Drivers should also yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, and never pass stopped vehicles at a crosswalk.  NHTSA also asks drivers to follow speed limits when people are around, and in school zones and neighborhoods.  Drivers should also be extra cautious when backing up2.

Preliminary data shows in 2023, 118 pedestrians died in crashes on Virginia roadways.