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What risks do you face as a pedestrian in Los Angeles?

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Between 2015 and 2017, there was an 80 percent increase in pedestrian deaths in Los Angeles, according to new data. The data collection is part of Mayor Garcetti's 2015 initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2025. It goes without saying that the statistics are trending in the wrong direction.

Although pedestrians make up only 8 percent of traffic collisions in L.A., the pedestrians involved make up 44 percent of the deaths, according to the Los Angeles Times. Being so grossly under-protected in a collision with a vehicle makes it all the more important for pedestrians to focus on what they can control while the city manages its part.

Tips for safe walking

Here are some things you can do to stay safe while you are walking:

  • Limit distractions: There are so many distractions on the road. All that you can do it limit your own distractions. Reading headlines or checking Instagram on your walk is clearly not as important as your life, yet we all seem to forget this. Walking in Los Angeles is just about the most dangerous thing you do, so put your phone away for this short period of time.
  • Always take the safest route: Although it may be tempting to take short-cuts, choose the walking path that follows sidewalks and intersections. Drivers are most likely to see you in those common pedestrian areas.
  • Don't make assumptions about drivers: One of the most dangerous things a pedestrian can do is assume where a car is going. Drivers are known to make split-second decisions based on traffic, their GPS devices or the decisions of other drivers.

Limitations to the human eye

For your own protection, it is useful to remember that the human eye is imperfect. The eye's job is to collect visual information and relay those images to the brain. The brain then assembles those images. To avoid relaying blurred images, the brain employs a trick called saccadic masking: essentially, the brain replaces blurry images with clearer, very recent memories. What that means is that drivers often don't have a current picture of the objects around them. That does not, however, mean that they are not responsible for causing injuries.

What it boils down to is this: you can't control other people, but you can reduce your chances of being killed or injured by following these simple safety tips.

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