SOUTH CAROLINA (WSPA) – With more than 100 pedestrian fatalities so far in our state this year, South Carolina Highway Patrol is asking both pedestrians and drivers to be more aware on the roadways.
Highway Patrol said pedestrian fatalities in South Carolina are up about 10%-12% compared to this time last year. That number as of Tuesday totaled 106.
“People just have to pay attention,” Master Trooper Mitchell Ridgeway said. “If you are a pedestrian, we encourage you to always walk in a designated area or crosswalk. If one is not available and you have to cross out of a crosswalk make sure you are paying attention.”
HIghway Patrol said pedestrians should always have something reflective on if not using a crosswalk. Many times when someone is hit by a car, it’s because they are not in a crosswalk, are in a low lit area, have on dark clothing, or are distracted, Highway Patrol said.
“There is a common misconception that pedestrians have the right of way in the roadway and that’s not true,” Ridgeway said. “The only time a pedestrian has the right of way in the roadway is if they are crossing in a crosswalk.”
If you hit a pedestrian, troopers said stay at the scene.
“In my experience we have seen a lot of the times where a driver will hit a pedestrian, panic and leave the scene,” Ridgeway said. “As long as that driver is not under the influence of something, it is not going to be the driver’s fault, given they are not doing some outrageous speed or driving recklessly.”
Highway Patrol said the number one way to avoid hitting someone or being hit is to limit your distractions and pay attention.
They say being alert is the most important part of their job.
“Throughout my career, as long as I was paying attention and being very attentive to what I was doing behind the wheel I was able to avoid a lot of situations, like pedestrians, because we run into pedestrians all the time,” Ridgeway said.