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The commute to work shouldn’t be a collision course

As pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise, follow these tips for both pedestrians and drivers to prevent accidents.

Collision course

Just a moment of distraction can change a regular commute into a collision course with dire consequences.

Pedestrian deaths are on the rise in Oregon.

Last year the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released data that shows pedestrian deaths increased from 70 in 2010 to 132 in 2022. OHA’s data aligns with state and national news headlines about pedestrian deaths.  

SAIF safety management consultant Siobhan Murphy says it’s a tragic issue that comes up again and again. Often the cause of these injuries and fatalities are distractions on both the part of the pedestrian and the person behind the wheel. 

“It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll just glance at your phone for a second, but changes come fast where cars and pedestrians are concerned,” says Murphy. 

As shown in our video, just a moment of distraction can change a regular commute into a collision course with dire consequences. While pedestrians are typically the most vulnerable ones in these collisions, the life of a driver is forever altered as well. 

We’ve put together some reminders and resources for staying safe on the road as both a pedestrian and driver.  

Tips for drivers 

  • Avoid distractions. Phone calls and texts can wait until you’ve arrived at your destination. 
  • Consider putting your phone away to reduce the temptation to look at it on the road. 
  • Be alert—this includes not driving while drowsy. 
  • Always drive sober. 
  • Maintain a safe speed. 
  • Drive defensively. 

These tips and much more can be found at saif.com/safedriving

Tips for pedestrians 

  • Stay alert. Avoid talking or texting on your phone. 
  • Use sidewalks and crosswalks when available. 
  • Walk facing traffic, especially when there is no sidewalk. 
  • Look left, right, and left again before crossing a street.  
  • Carry a flashlight and wear high-visibility (preferably retroreflective) clothing and gear when walking at night. 
  • Assume you can’t be seen by motorists and behave that way.  Make eye contact with drivers when entering the crosswalk 
  • Remember, it takes a long time for a moving car to stop.   

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) has additional tips and resources for staying safe as a pedestrian and cyclist. You can also find more at saif.com/pedestriansafety

“We share the common roadway space and owe it to each other to stay in the moment and off our phones,” Murphy says.