Walking is a great way to exercise and explore your local community. Unfortunately, pedestrians have a 1.5-times higher risk of death in a car accident than those riding in a vehicle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this type of incident kills nearly 6,000 walkers every year, including a disproportionate number of children younger than 15 and senior adults.
When you prefer to walk to your destination, keep these safety tips in mind to ensure that you arrive safely.
Travel during daylight
Pedestrian accidents are much more common after the sun goes down. Plan your trip for the daytime hours, especially when walking in a busy area. When walking at night is your only option, carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing.
Follow the rules
Traffic signs are not just for drivers. Pedestrians should obey signs and signals, cross only at designated crosswalks and make sure they are visible to motorists. Avoid darting into the street or otherwise acting unexpectedly when traveling on foot.
Avoid substance use
Drinking and walking may be just as dangerous as drinking and driving. In addition, some studies have drawn a correlation between cannabis legalization and increased pedestrian accidents. When under the influence, try to get a ride with a sober friend rather than walking home.
Stay on the sidewalk
Sidewalks and walking paths keep you safely away from the flow of traffic. When walking in an area without a designated place for foot traffic, stay on the shoulder of the road as far away from the driving lane as possible. Travel facing traffic so cars can see you clearly.
Listening to music and texting while walking pose a danger for pedestrians. Stay alert by keeping your smartphone stowed until you reach your destination.
Drivers also play an important role in reducing pedestrian deaths. Be aware of walkers, especially in residential areas and school zones.