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How can pedestrians be safer when they walk?

No one denies that walking represents one of the best ways you can keep fit. But it also puts you at risk when you walk along your neighborhood’s sidewalks or cross its streets. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cautions that in 2017 alone, 5,977 pedestrians died nationwide, amounting to one fatality every 88 minutes

Walking safely takes thought and effort on your part. For instance, as tempting as it may be to talk or text on your cellphone while walking, this is dangerous because it takes your mind off the things that surround you. Even in a quiet neighborhood, a car can come out of nowhere and slam into you as you cross the street. Unfortunately, people also often back out of their driveways without really looking at what is behind them.

Safety tips for pedestrians

The NHSTA recommends that you do the following every time you walk:

  • Always stay alert.
  • Refrain from cellphone or headset usage while walking.
  • Cross streets in a crosswalk whenever possible.
  • Follow the old adage of “look both ways before you cross the street,” but also look behind you to make sure no driver is about to turn into your path.
  • If you have to walk in the street due to lack of sidewalks, walk facing traffic and as close to the edge of the pavement as possible.
  • Wear bright clothing and reflective clothing in the evening and at night.

Safety tips for drivers

The NHSTA makes the following recommendations whenever you drive:

  • Always yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.
  • Always stay within the speed limit, especially in residential areas.
  • Never drive after drinking or taking drugs, including prescription drugs.
  • Be especially vigilant for pedestrians at night and in bad weather.

Remember, regardless of whether or not you have the right-of-way, pedestrians always take precedence over drivers. After all, they face the most risk of injury or death if your vehicle strikes them.

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