Tips to prevent fatal pedestrian accidents from happening in Winnebago County

Looking both ways before you cross the street could mean the difference between life and death.
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 6:23 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Looking both ways is a step everyone should take before crossing the street according to law enforcement, and it could mean the difference between life and death.

It’s one of many tips Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana advises drivers and pedestrians to keep in mind to avoid potential pedestrian deaths like the one that took place on S. Alpine Rd. and Beach St. in Rockford last Saturday night. More than 20 people have died from traffic incidents this year in Winnebago County, several of those have been drivers hitting walkers.

“I mean, something has to be done. I don’t have all the answers,” resident Dan Brugman says. “That’s tragic. That’s just terrible.”

Brugman believes drivers simply going the speed limit or less can keep the streets safer.

“If the speed limit was 35, it would be safer in this area, because there is a lot of elderly, walking, and I don’t think they can visually see how fast the car is coming as they approach the walkway.”

Caruana says most of these accidents happen at night but no matter the time of day, Caruana urges everyone to have their eyes on the road and not on their phone.

“They’re involved in whatever is distracting them, and, and before you know it, you have that fatal accident.”

Caruana says it’s more than just looking both ways before you cross the street.

“Just because you have the right of way whether you’re walking in, you’re a pedestrian or you’re the driver or the motorist, that light turns green, doesn’t mean that you have the right of way.”

The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office dealt with four pedestrian deaths in 2020. So far this year, there have not been any pedestrian fatalities.

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