Walking the streets or sidewalks as a pedestrian and you’d be right to feel at least a little vulnerable. About 4,000 pedestrians die in a traffic related accident each year in the US. Thousands more suffer serious injury. Whether walking is your main form of transportation, or whether you’re looking to take a leisurely stroll it’s important that you understand the risks most pertinent to you as a pedestrian and actively engage in safety measures. Here are some tips ensure your safety as a pedestrian:
Do not cross in front of bus/truck/obstruction. The easiest way for a driver to see you is when you are in clear view as you step off the sidewalk and into the street. You should never step from behind a building, vehicle or other obstruction directly into the street. Always aim to make yourself as visible as possible.
Stay off your phone. When crossing streets make sure you eliminate any distractions that might prevent you from giving your full attention to the road. This means no texting and crossing! Keep your head up and eyes peeled.
Recognize risks. Certain pedestrian situations are more dangerous than others. Be ready and able to identify them as such. If the crosswalk is telling you it’s safe to cross at a crosswalk where cars are allowed to yield and then turn, it is not safe until you’ve made sure there are no turning cars! While it should never happen, some drivers fail to yield to pedestrians. Be alert and keep an eye out for situations where there might be a higher risk of this happening.
Walk defensively. Okay put your fists back down, that’s not quite what we mean. Although it might seem silly walking defensively is an important safety tactic. What does it mean to walk defensively? It means always being alert that a driver could make a mistake that could affect you and reducing that risk as best as is in your power. For instance, if for whatever reason you are walking along a road that doesn’t have a sidewalk you should always make sure to walk towards oncoming traffic. This way you can do your part in removing yourself from a possibly dangerous situation (e.g. a car driving along the curb).
Follow all established pedestrian laws. Don’t jaywalk, don’t cross when street traffic signs are telling you not to. While you may think that it isn’t always necessary to follow these rules you are putting yourself, and drivers, at an unnecessary risk by not doing so.
Always hold the hand of a young child when crossing the street. Be wary of them running off the sidewalk and into the street and inform them of the importance of keeping themselves safe by following proper pedestrian behavior.
While “pedestrians always have the right of way” your safety will always to some degree remain your own responsibility. Make sure that you play an active role in preventing pedestrian related accidents by being a smart and alert pedestrian! Call the McMinn Law Firm if you or someone you love has been victimized as a result of a pedestrian accident.