Summer weather means more people out and about; more time to enjoy outdoor activities like walking. Whether it’s walking down a city block, a country road or a suburban sidewalk, everyone is a pedestrian at some point during the day. And like drivers, pedestrians have a responsibility to stay alert while traveling. This choice could mean the difference between life, serious injury, or death for yourself or those around you.
Unfortunately, thousands of people are killed each year on our roadways; but, many of those deaths could have been avoided. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 6,205 pedestrians died in 2019. That means a pedestrian was killed every 85 minutes (2019). In fact, the highest percentage of pedestrian fatalities occurs between 6 p.m. and 8:59 p.m.
Follow these walking safety tips from NHTSA to avoid being another statistic:
- Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
- If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
- Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
- Whenever possible, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers expect pedestrians. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right.
- If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely; continue watching for traffic as you cross.
- Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.
- Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
- Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and your judgment.