Stay safe wherever you are on the road.
There are many benefits to getting outdoors and walking, even when the temperatures start to fall.
Consider how a walk a day can help you:
- Manage your weight
- Control blood pressure
- Decrease your risk of a heart attack
- Boost “good” cholesterol
- Lower your risk of stroke
But while the benefits of exercise are high, so are the risks of walking on the roads. These dangers increase as the weather gets colder and skies become darker. Fortunately, these pedestrian safety tips can help keep you safe and sound.
Nationwide, more than 4,000 pedestrians die every year after being hit by cars. On average, a pedestrian is killed every 2 hours and injured every 8 minutes.
“The number of pedestrian fatalities is up significantly in Ohio,” said Nicole Knepper, Trauma Education/Outreach/Prevention coordinator at Mercy Health-St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo. “It is so important to stay vigilant, both as a pedestrian and as a driver. Everyone must be alert, avoiding distractions, so they can arrive to their destination safely.”
Pedestrian Safety Tips for Drivers
- Focus on the road
- Put your phone down and stay alert
- Reduce speed and be prepared to stop when approaching crosswalks
- Never pass a car that has stopped at a cross walk.
- And NEVER drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol – this puts all drivers and pedestrians at risk
There are many ways that people get hit by cars. Many common examples involve children, such as a child darting into the street while chasing a ball. Often, drivers fail to see children in the street, especially if vision is limited while backing up out of a driveway or driving late at night.
Adults also get hit by cars, often while performing routine activities such as getting the mail. Drivers should be alert, especially near crosswalks where pedestrian traffic can be high. When there aren’t sidewalks, drivers should be cautious of pedestrians walking on the street.
Pedestrian Safety Tips for Walkers
Pedestrians also have a responsibility to stay safe on the roads. The basic safety rules that we learned when we were young still ring true today. When crossing a street, always stop at the edge of a parked car, curb or vehicle and then look left-right-left for moving cars. Don’t cross until you see that traffic is clear.
Be alert and recognize the added time that may be required before traffic clears to walk safely. Do not assume that a green light, a walk signal, or a crosswalk means the street is safe to cross. Be especially alert for cars that may turn right on red as often the driver’s attention is looking in the other direction for oncoming cars. Some drivers disregard traffic rules, so you must be aware of vehicles even when you have the right-of-way.
Additionally, do your best to be visible. Walk during daylight hours when you can be most easily seen. If you must walk when it is dark, wear bright colored clothing and reflective materials. Use flashlights during evening and early morning walks.
Weather conditions also can play an impact on safety. In rainy conditions, pedestrians may have more difficulty seeing vehicles, especially if umbrellas block their vision. Walking on windy or icy days requires extra concentration and may make pedestrians less aware of oncoming vehicles, as can a bright glare on a sunny day.
If it’s too dark outside to walk but you still want some exercise, consider working out in your home. Any other tips? Share them with us in the comments!