With the weather warming up, most of us are enjoying any free time we have outside. Given that, the likelihood of having to cross a street or two can be quite frequent, especially if you live near a city. Although we’ve all learned and practiced the basic pedestrian safety tips of looking both ways and obeying traffic signals, times have changed.
Due to technological advancements that are now available at our fingertips, it has led to additional distractions for pedestrians to combat. Navigating intersections these days requires pedestrians to have a new level of alertness for both themselves as well as drivers around them. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 6,000 pedestrians died in traffic crashes on US roads last year.
Thus, disregarding the basic rules of the road for even a few moments in high-traffic areas can make any pedestrian vulnerable to being involved in an accident. Even though we can’t control traffic or disruptions that occur on the roadways, there are pedestrian safety rules to help you stay safe even when you’re not behind the wheel.
Pedestrian Safety Tips
1. Minimize distractions. Although we are aware of the statistical dangers of texting and driving, distracted walking statistics are also causing concern. Distracted walking can be the result of alcohol-impaired judgment or cell phone usage.
Pedestrians who are busy texting while walking are more likely to have a close call with cars. In fact, in 2010 The Ohio State University conducted a study that showed 1,500 pedestrians were treated for emergency room accidents that were directly related to cell phone distractions. Additionally, of those who were using their cell phones while walking, 61 percent were found to be more likely to veer off course. Thus, it’s best to put your phone away when using a crosswalk!
2. Look before you step. Everyone knows that in order to practice crossing the street safety, pedestrians need to look both ways before crossing, as well as to abide by basic traffic rules. It’s best to walk on sidewalks whenever possible or as far from traffic as you can. Looking before you step, especially on a crosswalk, allows you to cross the street as safely as you can. Further, j-walking and crossing the street when you don’t have the right of away can lead to a collision with a vehicle. In order to arrive safely where you’re headed, do your part to remain as vigilant as you can.
3. Make yourself visible. Although most pedestrian-related accidents occur at night according to the NHTSA, we’re not always going to walk or run solely when it’s light out. Light-colored clothing and reflective gear help illuminate your form and alert drivers of your presence. Thus, your safest bet when traveling on foot near roadways and crosswalks is to wear clothes that amplify your presence. However, it’s important to never assume drivers can see you, so do your best to make eye contact with drivers as they approach where you are to ensure they can see you.
The bottom line.
When it comes to getting to your destination, whether it be behind the wheel or by foot, staying mindful is a must. With the advancements that have been made to the technology that is at our fingertips, we have drive safe apps and updates that have been made to street safety tips to keep ourselves safe from harm’s way.
It’s no secret that warmer weather conditions make spending time outside that much more enjoyable. Even so, it’s important to know how to properly practice personal safety when we’re out and about. During the warmer months of the year, we hope you and your loved ones are remaining healthy, and playing it safe on the road!