Almost 6,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC makes it clear that simply walking around town can be dangerous, as being a pedestrian makes you 1.5 times more likely to be killed in a crash than someone who is inside a vehicle. As a child, your parents may have told you to look both ways before crossing a street. That’s not a bad start, but it’s certainly not enough. Here are some tips to help you stay safe as a pedestrian.
When walking, you need to stay focused on your immediate surroundings. This is especially important in major cities where walking is a primary form of transportation for many. Not surprisingly, Southern states and Florida are among the most dangerous for walkers, but even extremely-walkable cities like San Francisco and New York can also be unsafe.
As a driver, you’ve heard that you can’t control what other people on the road do — you can only control yourself. That’s doubly true when you’re walking around town. Try to stay off your phone when you’re walking along busy streets, and especially when crossing. While it is a car’s responsibility to watch for you, you should be practicing safety at all times.
If you happen to get hit, especially at no fault of your own, you might have a case for an accident lawyer. A pedestrian accident lawyer can help you out if you’ve sustained injuries, but it’s best to practice precaution to avoid getting hurt in the first place.
Paying attention will also keep you from doing things like walking into an active construction zone. You may think that construction zones are hard to miss, and that’s generally true. But if you’re listening to music, responding to a text, or even following a map, you might not see that your side of the street has been closed for construction. If you look up and notice a high strength concrete contractor working with a group of people in orange vests, that’s a good sign you’ve gone too far.
Cross the road legally
Suppose you’re meeting friends at a bar in the heart of Los Angeles on a Friday night. You see them right across the street, waving at you to come over. The nearest crosswalk is a couple hundred yards away, and you’re thinking it would be a lot faster if you just jaywalked across the street during a break in traffic.
This kind of activity can get you hurt or even killed. In this situation, try to signal to your friends that you’re going to the crosswalk instead. It may take a couple more minutes, but at least you’ll know you have a walk signal backing you up. Besides, you should know that in the eyes of the law, you can be found at least partially at fault if you get hit while jaywalking. A car that weighs a couple thousand pounds has an obvious advantage over a pedestrian who weighs 150 pounds, but an accident can still be caused by a pedestrian’s failure to follow local laws.
Unless you have an event that specifically calls for it, you should not go out walking in all-black clothes at night. By wearing such an outfit, it makes it harder for drivers to see you. Brighter colors are much more noticeable, and the safer alternative while walking in less-than-ideal lighting conditions.
As a pedestrian, you should be both visible and comfortable. You should try to avoid walking at night whenever possible, but if you can’t, wear a reflective vest or something that allows the road drivers to know that you’re around and that they should take proper precaution.
Though drivers should be mindful of pedestrians walking around, it’s important for people on the road to also be mindful of drivers. By being aware of your surroundings, walking only where and when permitted, and wearing outfits or items that allow those around you to notice you, you can ensure that you have a higher chance of being safe on the road. If you are ever injured as a pedestrian, whether by your fault or following the actions of a third-party, be sure to visit a pedestrian accident lawyer who is familiar with the laws and regulations governing your state.