Over 1 400 pedestrian incidents a concern

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Skull fractures, brain injuries, internal organ damage, spinal injuries, soft tissue injuries and other fractures.

These are some of the injuries evident to Dr Marilyn Hoggan, a registrar from the Forensic Pathology Services in Johannesburg, when examining a pedestrian who died as a result of a transport-related incident.

Dr Hoggan said they also see cases where the patient initially survives the incident, is treated medically and then dies at a later stage due to complications related to the initial incident.

“For example, a patient who sustains a head injury due to a pedestrian vehicle accident, who is comatose and ventilated, may develop pneumonia while recovering from the head injury and succumb to the pneumonia,” she said.

ER24 is urging pedestrians to be cautious. Sadly, most transport-related incidents involving pedestrians result in critical or fatal injuries.

Taking 2013/14/15 into account, ER24 has found that it attends to an average of 10 pedestrian-related incidents a day. ER24 attended to at least 3 800 pedestrian-related incidents last year.

Tips for pedestrians:

• Make use of pavements where available rather than walking on the road. If there are no pavements, walk facing oncoming traffic and as far away from the road as possible.
• Refrain from consuming alcohol as it alters the mind and impairs judgement.
• Use demarcated crossing areas if there are any however do not assume that motorists will stop. Rather check if it is safe to cross before doing so. If forced to cross a road where there are no demarcated crossing areas make sure you cross when safe to do so.
• Do not stroll across the road assuming that a vehicle will not hit you. Also, do not take chances by running across trying to beat the oncoming vehicles.
• If walking on the side of the road, make sure you pay attention to what is happening around you. Walk briskly and pay attention.
• Pedestrians are not allowed on highways/freeways. Refrain from walking or running across these roads.
• Never assume a motorist can see you. Wear bright or reflective clothing to increase your visibility and make eye contact where possible.
• Avoid talking on cellular phones or listening to music. These are distractions.
• Traffic signals and road signs are there for a reason. Obey them.
• Parents should ensure children are supervised when crossing the road. Do not allow your children to play along the roadside.

Tips for motorists:

• Always be alert and avoid distractions while on the road. Pedestrians could be difficult to see especially during the night and bad weather.
• Never assume a pedestrian will wait for you to pass.
• Obey the speed limit and slow down where pedestrians are visible.
• Look around for pedestrians especially when driving past informal settlements, schools and public transport pick up and drop off points.
• Refrain from consuming alcohol and driving.
• Be careful when turning at traffic lights and intersections as well as driving around stationary vehicles.

-Supplied