For many people, when possible, walking is their preferred way to get from one place to another. Walking is a great way to get exercise while also saving on gasoline, but it also requires you to take extra care to avoid getting injured by an inattentive driver.
Pick the Right Path
One of the most important things you can do as a pedestrian is to pick the right path. When sidewalks are available, use them. When possible, even if it means taking a slightly longer route, take roads that have well-maintained sidewalks. If the street does not have a sidewalk, walk as close to the edge of the left side of the road as possible. This allows you to see oncoming traffic and to avoid impeding traffic.
It is also important to use crosswalks. When possible, cross at streets with pedestrian lights. Drivers are more likely to be watching for pedestrians at crosswalks than they are if you simply cross in the middle of the road. Even when crossing at crosswalks, always make sure drivers see you before you cross the street. Never assume a driver will stop for you. Even after the driver has stopped, you may want to make eye contact with the driver to ensure that the person really has seen you.
Make Yourself Visible
It is always important for pedestrians to be easily visible. When walking along the side of the road, if there are vehicles parked along the road, avoid weaving between them. Maintain as straight of a path as possible.
It is especially important to make sure that you are visible when you are crossing the street. Never attempt to cross the street between two parked cars or if there are other items that might hide you from passing drivers’ view.
Pedestrians traveling after dark or in bad weather can be especially hard for drivers to see. When traveling after dark or in bad weather, avoid wearing dark clothing. Instead, wear bright colors. You may even want to invest in reflective clothing, especially if you often travel on foot after dark. To make yourself even more visible, carry a flashlight or other device that gives off light to help drivers to see you better.
Pedestrians who make smart decisions are more likely to be safe pedestrians. People often emphasize the importance of not driving impaired, but it is also important to not walk impaired. Drugs or alcohol may impact your judgment or your ability to walk straight. Because of this, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may weave into traffic or try to cross the street when it isn’t really safe to do so. Stay where you are or get a ride rather than trying to walk or drive anywhere until the effects of the drugs or alcohol have worn off.
It is also important to avoid distractions, which may also cause you to weave into traffic or step off the sidewalk when you cannot do so safely. Put down your cell phone. Don’t try reading and walking. Do not engage in any other behavior that may distract you from paying attention to your surroundings.
Another part of being a smart pedestrian is paying attention to drivers near you. If there is someone driving erratically, you may need to move onto the grass or otherwise get out of the driver’s way to stay safe. You may also need to move over if someone is driving close to the curb or might otherwise hit you.
Unfortunately, even if you are careful, sometimes drivers are not watching for pedestrians. If you or a family member was the victim of a pedestrian accident, contact us. We will provide you with a free evaluation of your case and work to get you with fair compensation for any injuries you or your family member suffered as a result of the accident.