Whether you head down the street to stop at a local store or go a greater distance, walking can be a great way to spend time outside and get exercise. However, if negligent drivers are on the road, pedestrians may also find themselves at risk of serious injury. What steps can pedestrians take to protect themselves?
1. Stay alert.
As a pedestrian, your safety often depends on your ability to see dangerous situations and respond quickly. Limiting distractions is an essential way to maintain that focus. This includes avoiding smart phone use while walking and not using headphones.
2. Avoid walking under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
While removing distractions, it is also important for pedestrians to avoid alcohol or drug usage. While walking after an evening of drinking with friends may be safer than driving home, one in every three fatal pedestrian crashes involves pedestrians with higher blood alcohol concentration. Alcohol can significantly limit your ability to respond to irresponsible drivers, tripping hazards and other dangers.
3. Use sidewalks and crosswalks wherever they are available.
Sidewalks and crosswalks are intended to make walking safer for pedestrians, and it is important for people to take advantage of these precautions while walking. Generally, these areas are farther away from traffic and well-lit, making it easier for drivers to maintain a safe distance from pedestrians.
4. Take steps to make yourself more visible.
Just as bicyclists rely on reflectors to make their bike more visible, pedestrians should take steps to make themselves easier for drivers to see. This can include wearing bright clothing during daylight. If you walk at night, you may also want to walk primarily through well-lit areas, wear reflective materials, carry a flashlight or use other safety precautions to keep yourself visible in the dark.
By taking precautions, pedestrians can keep themselves safe while walking.