The road can be a dangerous place. It can be dangerous when you’re in your vehicle, but it can be dangerous when you’re not in a vehicle too. Nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2017 because they were hit by cars.
It’s the job of drivers to look out for pedestrians, but it’s not just drivers who have to watch out and practice safety. It’s important for pedestrians to keep safety top of mind as well.
Know How To Cross The Road Safely
You know how to cross the road safely—or do you?
However, if there’s a crosswalk, you should only ever cross when it indicates it’s safe, even if the light turns green. Drivers may have a green turn light, which means it’s their turn to go and not yours.
Crossing the street at a stop sign or a crosswalk? It’s a good idea to make eye contact with the driver before you go. It ensures they know that you’re there and about to cross the street. In addition, they may wave their arm, indicating that they see you and they want you to go first. Without eye contact, you may never know if they saw you there until it’s too late.
Walk Facing Traffic
Do you know which side of the road to walk on? If you’re on the sidewalk, you should walk on the righthand side so other pedestrians can pass on the other side. If you’re walking on the road because there is no sidewalk, you should always walk facing traffic.
When you walk facing traffic, you’re able to see exactly who is coming. If they are driving a little erratically, you can get out of the way just in case. If you are walking in the same direction as traffic, you can only hear people coming, which can make you more likely to get hit. Not to mention, you’ll be more comfortable walking on the side of the road seeing the traffic come towards you rather than hearing it sneak up behind you.
Just keep in mind that this rule is different for cyclists. They should always ride with the flow of traffic instead of against it.
Be Aware Of Others On The Sidewalk
Not only do you have to be aware of motorists while you’re walking, you should also be aware of others on the sidewalk. It isn’t unheard of for a pedestrian to get hit by a bicycle or cause a runner to trip because they were in the way.
Listen for bike bells and runners who announce that they are passing on the left. Stay close to the right shoulder of the sidewalk to give them plenty of room.
See an approaching dog that makes you nervous? Don’t be afraid to give that dog plenty of room to pass, especially if you also happen to be walking a dog and one or both dogs are behaving poorly.
Get Off Your Phone
Humans drastically overestimate their ability to multitask, especially when it comes to doing things and using phones at the same time. Not only should you not drive and text at the same time, it’s also a good idea to put down your phone when you’re walking too.
Research is showing that texting and walking is potentially just as dangerous as texting while driving. Not only are you more likely to run into light poles and accidentally dive into fountains, you’re also more likely to cross the street dangerously and accidentally get hit by a car.
It can be dangerous for other reasons too. If you’re talking or texting on your phone at night, thieves and kidnappers think you’re distracted and they are more likely to approach you.
Are drivers and other pedestrians able to predict where you’re going on the sidewalk or on the road? If you aren’t walking in a straight line or you’re weaving on and off the trail, it can be difficult for others to determine what you’re doing, which makes you and them more likely to suffer an injury.
Be predictable when you walk, which means following the rules on the trail, being alert, and staying to one side.
Know How To Walk With Kids And Others
Walking with young kids can be scary because they don’t understand how dangerous the road can be. Tips for walking with your child include:
- Hold their hand when crossing the street
- Have them help you look both ways
- Walk on the left side of the sidewalk, nearest to traffic
- Only allow your child to walk to school alone when they are truly ready
You also have to know how to walk with others, even if they are adults! Walk single file when walking on a busy street or a busy sidewalk to ensure you don’t block traffic and frustrate everyone behind or in front of you.
Choose Your Route Carefully
You can make your walk safer if you choose your route carefully. For example, if you can take a winding trail to avoid a busy street without a sidewalk, you should do it, even if it means leaving to get to work a little earlier.
Although pickpocketing is a more serious threat in other countries, it happens in the United States too. You can avoid getting pickpocketed if you don’t take shortcuts through alleys or take walks in high crime neighborhoods.
Which route you take may also depend on the time of day. For example, a wooded trail makes a great shortcut on the way to work, but you may want to stick to the sidewalk on a busy street after work when the sun goes down.
You aren’t necessarily safer because you’re walking on the sidewalk instead of driving behind the wheel. Ensure your safety by following these tips the next time you walk to work or hit the trail.