Walking is a good way to get in some exercise. Plus, it’s good for the environment! Unfortunately, data tells us that vehicle-pedestrian accidents and fatalities are on the rise. With that in mind, we wanted to share a few easy ways you can stay safe.
Tip #1: Wear Bright Clothing
It’s all about making yourself as visible as possible. Choose bright clothes (or even a brightly colored accessory). Heading out in the evening or early morning? Wear a reflective vest. You can find these for a few dollars at most hardware stores or online.
Tip #2: Walk Facing Traffic
By law, if a sidewalk is available, you need to use it! However, there are lots of residential streets where there aren’t sidewalks. In these situations, you should walk on the left edge of the road, facing oncoming traffic (RCW 46.61.250).
Tip #3: Use Crosswalks
Need to make like a chicken and cross the road? Use an intersection or crosswalk. Don’t assume that drivers will see you or stop. Even if you have the right-of-way, use care before crossing the road.
Tip #4: Avoid Impairment
You already know that drinking and driving don’t mix. But you might be surprised to learn that walking intoxicated can be dangerous, too! In fact, the NHTSA reports that 33% of pedestrians who were killed in 2018 were intoxicated. Consider alcohol’s impacts: it hampers your judgment, slows your reaction time, and weakens motor coordination. All of these can prevent you from staying safe. Plan on staying put until you’ve sobered up or use a designated driver.
Tip #5: Be Predictable
When you walk in a predictable way, you help drivers around you react accordingly. Use sidewalks where possible and obey traffic signals.
Tip #6: Nix the Headphones – or Turn Them Down
Be aware of your surroundings. Cranking up the music or your favorite podcast can mean you miss important environmental cues – such as a car’s horn or a bicyclist coming up the sidewalk alongside of you. Can’t walk without your tunes? Consider leaving one ear bud out, turning the volume way down, or opting for bone conduction headphones which rest outside your ears.
Tip #7: Notify Friends or Family
It’s always a good idea to let someone know of your walking plans before you leave the house. In addition, use a location-sharing app on your phone so a family member or close friend knows where you’re at.
Tip #8: Carry Your Phone
By this, we don’t mean walk while staring at your phone screen – which can be a major distraction and very dangerous. Instead, keep your (charged!) phone in your purse or pocket. You never know when you may encounter an emergency.
Sometimes accidents will happen, even if you do everything right. If you’ve been a victim, please reach out to a pedestrian accident lawyer from our team. There is no charge for a consultation. Learn if you have legal options today.