Walking is inherently safer than driving. You can conclude that from the 2012 statistics that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released for Colorado. Of the 472 traffic fatalities, only 76 involved pedestrian deaths. But that’s still too many deaths for a supposedly safer method of locomotion.
If you want to avoid being part of the statistics for this year, follow these tips whenever you walk.
- Follow all the laws. Just because you’re on foot doesn’t excuse you from ignoring traffic regulations. Cross only at designated areas and only when the light signals that you can. Remain on the sidewalk when it’s available.
- Be visible. Many accidents happen because drivers didn’t see the pedestrian. Never cross behind cars or trucks because if the driver is backing up, he may not see you. Do not dart suddenly across the road in front of moving traffic. You will never outrun a moving vehicle. Before negotiating the crosswalk in front of a stopped car, catch the driver’s eye, so he knows you’re there.
- Be extra careful at night. Your lack of built-in lighting and smaller silhouette renders you invisible in the dark. Wear reflective light-colored clothing and stick to well-lighted paths. If you must go on unlit streets, carry a flashlight, preferably with a blinking function.
- Remain alert. One advantage of walking is that you can react more quickly to changing traffic situations than a car. But you can only do that if you remain fully aware of what’s happening around you. Do not talk or text unless you stop moving. Do not wear earphones or you’ll miss audio cues. Avoid walking if you’re drunk or under the influence of medication.