Want a better, safer walking experience? Whether you live in the city or a quiet suburban neighborhood, walking is a great way to get out, enjoy the fresh air, and increase your physical activity. Walking, however, can be a challenge on busier streets. Regardless if you are walking to get from one point to another or for exercise, you need to be extra cautious when walking near vehicles.
Severe pedestrian-versus-automobile accidents can occur and are more likely in urban areas.
Luckily, you can get in your exercise while staying safe by following a few essential tips.
How to Stay Safe When Walking around Cars
Whether you are walking on the sidewalk, street, or an unpaved roadway, consider the following rules for walking – especially when walking around cars.
Face Traffic When Walking – If You Are Walking on the Side of the Road
If the area where you are walking has no sidewalks and you must walk on the side of the road, choose the side of the road where you will face traffic. This ensures you see vehicles approaching and can take evasive action if necessary.
Realize that walking while facing traffic does not increase the chances the driver will see you but only gives you the opportunity to react.
Always Cross the Road with Safety in Mind
Never haphazardly cross the road or assume cars are not coming. In a quiet suburban neighborhood with minimal traffic, you must always check for vehicles because you never know when one is turning in front of you.
Aside from always looking both ways, realize that even in a controlled intersection, you should be cautious. You may have the “walk” symbol for the crosswalk. But that does not mean a vehicle will ignore it, run a light, or try to skate through before you.
Before crossing the street when a vehicle is nearing the intersection, wait until you make eye contact with the driver so that they will indeed stop.
Look out for Runners and Cyclists
Vehicles are not your only concern while walking alongside the road. Cyclists can easily collide with a pedestrian and cause serious injuries.
A bike rider should alert you that they are passing by. And if you hear a cyclist bell or announcement, stay on the path you are in and do not move until they have passed you.
Make Yourself Visible
The more visible you are to vehicles, the easier it is to avoid an accident. Wear brightly colored clothing even if you are walking during the daytime. If you are walking at night, avoid any black or dark colors that make you harder to see. Also, if you are walking at night around cars, you need reflective material – even if it is just a reflective strip on your back.
Drivers are not expecting pedestrians in the dark, which increases the chances of a pedestrian versus automobile collision.
At twilight and dawn, take extra precautions too. There is limited visibility while the sun rises or sets, and it can make it harder for drivers to see you even with your bright clothing or reflective tape.
Do Not Be an Unpredictable Pedestrian
A common cause for pedestrian accidents is unpredictability. A driver might see you. But if you make an unpredictable move, it can lead to a severe accident. For example, you quickly change your direction and run in front of traffic.
Make it a practice to keep your walking predictable, pause and wait before changing direction, and always look for cars before you veer off course.
Avoid Distracted Walking
Distracted walking is just as dangerous as texting and driving. If you are not paying attention to the road, you can trip and fall. Also, you could walk in front of a vehicle because you are not paying attention.
There are numerous ways to be distracted while walking, including:
- Talking on the phone
- Listening to music, audio tapes, or other sounds through headphones
Always do what you can to be aware of your surroundings. If you want to listen to music, keep the volume down low enough so that you can still hear traffic sounds around you.
Consider Your Health
While walking is generally safe, be aware of the signs that you should stop walking. Aches and pains that are making it difficult to move forward, heat sickness, dehydration, or chest pains are all reasons to stop and take a break.
Always carry a phone with you so that you can call 911 if something happens. Bring along water to drink if you are walking on a hot day and take breaks in the shade during long-distance treks.
Look for Tripping Hazards
Sometimes it is not just the vehicles you need to worry about; it can be the sidewalk or road conditions. Look out for potential slip and trip hazards such as slick surfaces, mud, uneven sidewalks, or debris on the roadway. A trip and fall can cause serious injuries – including brain trauma.
Regardless of how heavily trafficked the area is, you must use crosswalks when crossing if they are present. Not only is it illegal, but crossing the street outside of a designated crosswalk could harm your chances of receiving compensation if you were hit by a driver – regardless of how negligent that driver might have been.
Opt for Walking Trails
One of the safest ways to get your exercise and avoid traffic collisions is to use a walking or jogging trail. Most cities will have them in bigger parks. Or there may be designated trails throughout the city that have limited interaction with vehicles – decreasing the chances of an injury.
Injured in a Pedestrian-Versus-Automobile Accident?
If you are injured as a pedestrian, you may be entitled to compensation. To explore your options, you need to speak with an attorney that specializes in personal injury cases.
Our attorneys can assist you with your injury case. We will review the facts of the accident and negotiate with insurance companies so that you get the compensation you deserve.