Walking is good for your health, right? Right – unless you’re one of the thousands of pedestrians involved in traffic crashes each year. In 2015, more than 5,300 pedestrians were killed in crashes, and over 128,000 required emergency-room treatment.
To keep your walk healthy and safe, walk defensively and follow these safety rules:
- If there’s a sidewalk, use it. If there’s no sidewalk, walk on the left shoulder, facing traffic. This way, you can see approaching cars and jump aside if necessary.
- Cross at an intersection where possible. You’ll usually have a light telling you when it’s safest to go, and drivers are generally more cautious when passing through an intersection.
- Don’t sip and stroll. One of every 3 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in 2015 had a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. Drinking impairs your judgment and can blur your vision – both of which can make you a reckless walker. Take a cab or use a rideshare app if you’ve been drinking.
- Pay attention. That means put your phone away. Social media is full of videos of phone-fixated pedestrians walking into poles and tumbling down steps. It’s not so funny when it involves you and a moving vehicle.
- Wear light, bright clothing when walking at night. By day, dark clothes are slimming – by night, they’re nearly invisible. Bring a flashlight too (or put your smartphone to safer use by using the flashlight app).
- Teach kids about pedestrian safety. About one-fifth of all children ages 5 – 9 killed in traffic crashes are pedestrians. For guidance on teaching kids about walking safely, download this PDF from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
- Do your part as a driver. Keep an eye out for pedestrians, especially in busy urban areas with office and shopping areas. Slow down through intersections, and look for marked pedestrian walkways.
For more information on pedestrian and auto safety, talk to an independent insurance agent near you. Find one today.