Bloomington, IL, 06 September 2016 | 04:06 PM America/Chicago Simple State Farm® Reminders can help Pedestrians and Drivers Reach Their Destinations Safely Watch Out for Walkers Bloomington, IL. (Sept. 6) —The start of a new school year can be a very exciting time for children and parents alike, especially those little ones who are headed off for the first time. But it can also be scary for everyone as children try to make their way across busy streets and intersections. Especially given that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and 2015 crash data, released on August 29, 2016, pedestrian fatalities increased by 466 (a 9.5-percent increase) and are at their highest number since 1996. Families could use the back-to-school season as a moment to discuss walking and driving safety tips and the many benefits of walking, including health, wellness, stress-reduction and saving money on gas. Reviewing some simple safety tips like the ones below can help everyone be safer, whether walking or driving. Pin It Reminders for Walkers: Use sidewalks. When available, they are the safest place to walk. If there is no sidewalk- walk facing traffic. Be visible. Wear bright colors and clothes with reflective materials. Keep your eyes up to help avoid trips, falls and not seeing on-coming traffic. Use traffic signals and crosswalks whenever possible – it’s much safer, especially in high-traffic areas. Watch and follow the pedestrian crossing signal (if there is one), not the traffic signal Stop. Look both ways. Look left, then right, then left again before crossing. Stay alert and avoid distractions while walking, such as talking, texting, listening to music or using other mobile apps, which take your mind, eyes and ears off of walking. Be especially careful at intersections. This is where many drivers may fail to yield the right-of-way while turning. Use a flashlight if you're walking at night to light your path and help others see you. Reminders for Drivers: Be aware of children. They are often impulsive and can dart out in the street at any time. Follow the speed limit and be especially cautious around residential neighborhoods and school zones. Yield to pedestrians. When making a turn and waiting for an opening in traffic, be aware that pedestrians may have moved into your path. Be cautious around driveways and alleys. When entering and exiting, these can be very difficult places to spot pedestrians. Keep a close lookout, and if you can't see clearly, slow down. Reduce distractions. Spotting pedestrians requires your full attention. Using a cell phone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, reading a map, or changing the radio station only makes it more difficult and dangerous. Approach crosswalks carefully. If a pedestrian is crossing or about to cross, stop well back so drivers in other lanes also have time to yield. Do not pass another vehicle that has stopped for pedestrians. Driveways & Safety at Home: Teach children about safe outdoor play areas at home, away from parked or moving cars. Do not allow play in or around vehicles and consider making your driveway a kid-free zone. This can help avoid toys or bikes being left in the driveway, attracting children or creating a hazard for drivers. If small children are permitted to play in a driveway, supervise them and use cones or a barricade to help warn drivers. Hold hands with small children as they enter and exit vehicles in the driveway, as well as parking lots. Check for children before leaving your driveway, especially when driving in reverse, and if possible drive a car that has a back-up camera. The information in this article was obtained from various sources. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under any policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made. About State Farm®: The mission of State Farm is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its nearly 19,000 agents and approximately 58,000 employees serve approximately 83 million policies and accounts – approximately 81 million auto, fire, life, health and commercial policies and approximately 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 36 on the 2018 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.