In 2021 alone, nearly 7,400 pedestrian deaths occurred with thousands more injuries, some minor and some serious.
If you’re someone who walks or runs, or if you’ve got children, you need to be mindful of your safety. No matter where you live, there are always more and more cars on the road, not to mention scooters, bicycles, and a variety of other hazards. When you’re not careful, you could easily become part of the statistic.
In this post, we’re going to be discussing pedestrian safety. We’ll do this by giving you 7 safety tips that you can be mindful of whether you’re walking or running and whether it’s day or night.
The best way to avoid being hurt as a pedestrian is to take matters into your own hands. Keep reading and you’ll keep yourself safe, regardless of what’s going on around you.
1. Face Traffic
When walking or running down the street or on a sidewalk, always face traffic. If you can see what cars are doing in front of you, it’s easier to react to what’s happening. Conversely, it’s easier for drivers to see you if you’re facing them, so it really is better for everyone.
Many people think that because cyclists are supposed to go with the flow of traffic walkers and runners should too. Bicycles are technically vehicles, so they should move the same way as cars, but pedestrians need to be able to react to what’s in front of them.
This includes cyclists who are riding on sidewalks, as well as those riding on scooters and other small motorized vehicles that pose risks for pedestrians.
2. Assume Nobody Sees You
A lot of pedestrians put themselves in danger because they assume that everyone can see them on the sidewalk. The average driver’s first priority is paying attention to what’s happening on the road, not on the sidewalk. Good drivers will pay attention to the sidewalk as well, but you can’t rely on this as a pedestrian.
Instead of assuming that everyone can see you, assume that no one can and behave accordingly. Try to wear at least some bright colors during the day and reflective clothing when walking or running at night. Don’t do anything unpredictable, even on the sidewalk.
It’s also important to be cognizant of what drivers are dealing with. For example, drivers deal with more sun in their eyes at dusk. Once the sun is down, drivers might not expect pedestrians to be out, so be extra careful at crosswalks and going across driveways.
3. Use Proper Headphones
A lot of us like to wear headphones while we’re out running. Nowadays, there are noise-canceling headphones that fit into or over our ears and block out all outside noise. This might be great when you’re working or traveling on a plane, but it’s not conducive to walking or running safety.
One’s awareness of one’s surroundings is heavily dependent on their ability to hear what’s going on. You aren’t always able to rely only on what you can see, especially when something is coming up behind you. It’s not just traffic you have to worry about, it’s also runners and bikers sharing the sidewalk, as well as people with ill intent.
There are headphones you can buy that allow you to enjoy your music or podcasts without blocking out all outside noise. Bone conduction technology gives you outstanding sound while giving you full awareness of your surroundings.
4. Be Aware of What Could Happen
The best thing you can do to avoid mishaps while you’re walking is simply to be aware of what could happen. If you know that a particular area has low visibility for drivers, you can take the right measures to mitigate risks. If you know that a particular part of town isn’t safe for walking, you can avoid it.
Knowing what the most common causes of pedestrian accidents are will also help you prevent accidents of your own. Here is a great post to read to educate yourself on the subject right now.
5. Don’t Distract Yourself
Listening to music or podcasts without the right type of headphones is one way of distracting yourself, but there are others. Whether you’re talking on the phone or staring at your phone while walking, you’re distracted and the risks of walking near the road go up.
Your awareness needs to be complete when you’re out and, when walking or running at night, this is even more important. It’s important to keep a phone charged in case of emergencies, but it should be in your pocket while you’re walking or running.
Distracted walking can even lead to trips, slips, and falls. In the worst cases, you might walk onto the road and get hit by a car, which will obviously have greater consequences.
6. Make Room
Try to be a courteous walker and expect the same from other walkers. If a sidewalk is narrow, make sure to try and make room for other people. When the sidewalk isn’t separated much from the road, make sure to be aware of traffic before sliding by other pedestrians.
In the event you need to go onto the road to get around someone, always be sure to check for oncoming vehicles before doing it. Basically, be as careful as possible at all times, and don’t mindlessly walk onto or across the road.
7. Abide by the Law
That brings us to our last point. Pedestrian laws are in place to protect pedestrians and the sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be. Don’t jaywalk – not because you might get a ticket, but because you could get seriously injured if a vehicle comes.
Pedestrian laws differ from state to state, so check your state laws and put them into practice. One of the biggest causes of a pedestrian accident is from people running across the road through traffic. Only cross the road at designated crosswalks and when lights indicate that you can cross.
Pedestrian Safety Matters
These pedestrian safety tips should keep you out of trouble. It’s important to understand how important it is to take running and walking safety seriously. If you’re nonchalant, you could end up injured, or worse.
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