The new year is a time many of us resolve to establish positive new habits, and that often includes an intention to exercise more. One easy, and cheap, way to accomplish that goal is by taking up walking. It's good for your health, relatively low-impact and, if you invite a friend, can be a fun way to catch up as opposed to the more common method of doing so over a high-calorie meal.
However, walking is not without risks, ones you may not even have thought about. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2016, there was an increase in fatal accidents involving pedestrians. Almost six thousand pedestrians lost their lives while out walking, or a rate of a pedestrian killed every 1.5 hours. However, the NHTSA has some great advice for staying safe and avoiding pedestrian accidents for both pedestrians and the drivers who may encounter them.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
- Always comply with signs and signals, and obey rules of the road.
- Never act unpredictably around traffic.
- If sidewalks are available, make use of them. If they are not, walk facing traffic while keeping as far away from it as you can.
- Be mindful that you are not distracted by any electronic devices.
- Use crosswalks if they are present and be sure to check for traffic in all directions. If crosswalks aren't available, cross in a well-lit area where you can best see any traffic.
- Remember that just because you can see a driver doesn't mean he or she can see you. Make sure to have eye contact with the driver.
- Wear bright or reflective clothing, depending on the time of day, or use a flashlight when appropriate.
- Take extra caution around driveways and parking lots.
- Refrain from using alcohol or drugs when you are a pedestrian as they may affect your judgment.
Safety Tips for Drivers
- Don't assume that pedestrians bear all the responsibility for safety - always be on the lookout for them.
- If conditions make it difficult to see, such as bad weather or low light, be extra cautious.
- When entering a crosswalk, slow down and be ready to stop if needed.
- Give pedestrians the right of way and stop at enough distance from a crosswalk so other drivers can see crossing pedestrians.
- Do not pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk, as you may hit someone you cannot see.
- Do not operate a vehicle if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Follow posted speed limits.
- In school zones or neighborhoods with kids, be sure to slow down to posted speed limits.
- Take extra precautions when backing up your car.
Most of these tips come back to one common thread - pay attention, whether you are operating a vehicle or you're a pedestrian who is near one. Those who are unfortunate enough to experience a pedestrian accident here in Pennsylvania may want to contact an attorney with knowledge of personal injury law. Filing a personal injury claim may result in financial compensation that a victim of such an accident, or a victim's family, could use in order to cover any unexpected expenses that may arise after an incident like this.