Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pedestrianism Under The Influence

We’ve all been warned not to drink and drive, but where does pedestrianism fit in? Statistics show that pedestrians killed in vehicular collisions are disproportionately likely to be intoxicated. These stats vary regionally, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that one-quarter of pedestrian fatalities involve an inebriated walker. This skews even more at night: according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, over one half of all pedestrians killed between 9pm and 6am were drunk.

So what’s the point here? Well, walking, while under the influence of alcohol, remains orders of magnitude safer than driving, and it’s still the way to go when inebriation is in the picture. As with all safety concerns, though, a little education and awareness could go a long way. Should you find yourself on an intoxicated trek by foot, try to bring along a sober companion to keep an extra set of eyes on the road. If you see a drunken friend walking off somewhere alone, offer to accompany them. Be aware that your judgment is impaired and err on the side of caution. Commercial areas with slow-seeming traffic circulation could become deadly if you’re not watching out for yourself.

Pedestrian safety, as ever, is not a one-way street (pardon the pun). Motorists should always be aware and sufficiently in control to avoid hitting a pedestrian, no matter how erratic the potential victim. They should take particular care when driving near nighttime commercial hotspots where people are more likely to be drinking. And of course, remember to never get behind the wheel yourself if you’ve been drinking alcohol; a drunk driver and a drunk pedestrian in the same location is truly a tragedy waiting to unfold.

Walking is still the safest way to get around under the influence, but don’t play the dice— always take steps to keep yourself and your companions safe.

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