11 May Five Safety Tips for Pedestrians
The California Department of Public Health reports that from 2007 to 2013, pedestrian deaths in California increased 11%. Nationwide, pedestrian deaths rose to a 25-year high through 2017, according to the Governors Highway Safety Organization.
At RA & Associates, we want our readers to buck that trend and stay safe when traveling on foot. Here are five safety tips for ensuring that walking near a road doesn’t end in tragedy.
Tip #1: Stay on the Sidewalk/Face Oncoming Traffic
It sounds simple, but if there is a sidewalk along the road you’re walking, use it. It’s there for a reason. In the absence of a sidewalk, always walk facing traffic (in the U.S., that means to walk along the left shoulder). Walking against traffic reduces the possibility that you will stray into the roadway without hearing or spotting traffic approaching from behind. When walking against traffic, stay as far from the road surface as possible, especially near areas with limited visibility of the road ahead, such as blind curves or hilltops.
Tip #2: Wear Bright Clothing
Another simple but critical piece of advice: wear clothes that will make you visible to oncoming traffic. That means no browns, greens or grays. The best option is to wear fluorescent colors with light-reflective surfaces just like road crews do, but if you don’t have that in your wardrobe, favor reds, pinks, or any other colors that stand out against the surroundings. Also, it’s best not to walk along a road shoulder at night, but if you have to, carry a flashlight or headlamp and make extra effort to wear reflective clothing.
Tip #3: Always Use Crosswalks
Crosswalks have been designed by engineers as the safest, most visible, spots to cross a roadway. They’re there to keep you out of harm’s way. Crossing the street outside of a crosswalk (“jaywalking”) is not only dangerous, but it may impair your legal rights as well. Generally speaking, drivers owe pedestrians in a crosswalk a greater duty of care than pedestrians outside of one.
Tip #4: Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink and Walk on the Shoulder
If you’ve been drinking, traveling on foot is safer than getting behind the wheel of a car, to be sure. But take care: statistics in California suggest that men have a far greater chance of being killed in pedestrian accidents than women and that pedestrians who have been drinking have a much higher fatality rate than other groups. So, the next time you and your friends go out for a night on the town, the safest strategy for getting home is still to have a designated driver.
Tip #5: Don’t Text and Walk
It can be dangerous to walk along a roadway, particularly one without a sidewalk, while you stare at your phone. Research shows that our brains are not built to pay attention to a screen and simultaneously stay aware of our surroundings. People texting (or using social media) have difficulty walking in a straight line and noticing warning signs and sounds. This is particularly true if they’re also listening to music. Our advice: if you have to pay attention to a screen, stop walking and step further back from the roadway. And never, ever cross the street without looking up from your phone and in both directions first.
If An Accident Happens…
We hope you will follow the advice above, and that you and your loved ones never become victims of a pedestrian-auto accident. But if tragedy does strike, after seeking immediate and appropriate medical attention, we encourage you to consult with an experienced accident attorney to learn about your legal rights.
At RA & Associates, we have years of experience representing victims of all kinds of accidents, including pedestrian accidents. Contact us today to learn how to protect your rights and seek the compensation you may deserve.
RA & Associates, APC
1 (888) 417-1080
505 N. Brand Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91203