It’s tough to be a pedestrian on the streets these days. Even a careful driver could hit a pedestrian under the right circumstances and too many drivers have their eyes on their GPS or phone instead of the road.
If you’re walking more for your health and well-being, make sure that you also take steps to keep from being the victim of a distracted driver. An accident with a car could seriously injure or kill you — even if the car isn’t going particularly fast.
Use these tips for safety when you’re travelling by foot:
1. Be particularly cautious in mixed traffic. Two-thirds of pedestrian accidents occur inside city limits. The constant movement of pedestrians, cyclists and cars can momentarily confuse even good drivers. A cyclist who moves by you too quickly could startle you right into the path of an oncoming car. If you can, pick a place to walk that isn’t overly congested with traffic.
2. Never use an unmarked crosswalk — even when other people are. Some spots, particularly near campuses, office buildings and parking garages, develop “unofficial crossing spots” that could be lethal if a driver unfamiliar with the area happens to come through too quickly.
3. Avoid areas without sidewalks. These are simply bad areas to walk and a nightmare for both pedestrians and drivers. They force you onto the road where there’s no room for you and no safe place to turn if a car is coming your way.
4. Put down your phone. Distracted walking can be as dangerous to your health as distracted driving. You can’t be reactive to danger if you aren’t alert to your surroundings.
5. Watch out for quiet cars. Electric cars may be the wave of the future, but they present a hazard for pedestrians because of how quiet they are. Keep in mind that you can’t rely on your hearing alone to give you warning that danger is near.
If you are in an accident with a car, it’s important to consider the fact that you may be laid up for a significant period of time. It could also take years of intensive therapy for you to fully recover. Because of these factors alone, you need to consider all your legal options.
Source: Traffic Safety Store, “Why People Get Hit: Eight Causes of Pedestrian Accidents,” Dana Henry, accessed Jan. 26, 2018