Walking is one of the best ways to get around. Whereas cars require insurance, gasoline, and all the rest, you don’t have to invest so much to walk. Perhaps even better, walking is a great way to get some exercise.
That said, walking can be a bit dangerous, especially if you’re walking in busy areas, or on uneven ground. Pedestrians also need to watch for cyclists, cars, and other potential threats. Sadly, with accidents involving vehicles, over 6,000 pedestrians die each year in the United States alone. If you get into an accident, it’s wise to consult with a pedestrian accident lawyer.
Use Designated Sidewalks and Crosswalks
Whenever possible, you should walk on sidewalks, and if there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic, so that you can see oncoming cars. If a car is driving dangerously, you should try to get off the road or shoulder when possible. It’s better to let the car pass before resuming your journey.
You should always use designated crosswalks or intersections when crossing the street. It’s best to avoid jaywalking whenever possible. Look both ways before crossing, and make sure the road is clear before stepping out. If the crosswalks use lights that signal when to go, wait until they tell you to go. Not only will this protect you, but it could also save you from a ticket.
If crosswalks are not available, make sure there is no approaching traffic before crossing the road. It’s best not to cross the road near turns or other things that could reduce a driver’s vision.
Make Yourself Seen
It’s smart to wear bright or reflective clothing, especially at night or in low-light conditions, to make yourself more visible to drivers. If you’re jogging or running, you can find a lot of great workout gear that’s highly reflective.
If you’re walking at night, consider turning on your smartphone’s camera flashlight (should you have one). You can use this flashlight to not only light the way but to also make you more visible to drivers.
Be Defensive, Stay Alert
Keep your eyes and ears open and avoid using headphones or other distractions that may prevent you from hearing or seeing approaching vehicles. If you really want to walk with headphones on, consider using only one earbud, thus leaving your other ear exposed and ready to receive sounds from the environment.
Watch out for uneven pavement, stairs, debris, and other potential obstacles. If you don’t notice them in time, it could result in a hard spill.
Also, minimize using your phone or any other distractions while walking, as such distractions may prevent you from paying attention to your surroundings. It’s fine to stop in a safe place and then pull out your phone to get directions. Playing a video game while walking, on the other hand, could result in an accident.
Ultimately, you want to be a defensive walker. This means being prepared for unexpected movements from vehicles, and don’t assume that drivers can see you.
Wear the Right Shoes
If you’re going for a long walk in the city, you’ll typically want walking or running shoes. Preparing to embark on a hike? Have fun! But also, wear hiking shoes. Any shoes you wear should be in good condition and should offer the right fit.
You also want to minimize walking in high-traffic areas under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as it impairs your judgment and reaction time. When consuming alcohol, the right shoes can go a long way. If you’re going out for the night, consider ditching high heels, sandals, and other non-walking shoes.
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