June 22, 2022 | by BMI Staff
With the warmth of summer comes an influx of outdoor walkers. There are fewer simple joys in life than taking an outdoor stroll when the weather is nice, but that can change in a hurry if pedestrians and their driving counterparts are not traveling safely. According to the National Safety Council, thousands of pedestrians are killed and many more are seriously injured across the United States, each year. In order to bring the proper awareness to this important safety subject, we have developed the following quick-tip guide for both walkers and drivers. Whether you’re behind the wheel or enjoying the great outdoors on foot, everyone is responsible for sharing the road in order to maintain safety for all of those on it.
Tips For Walkers
Use sidewalks. If there is a sidewalk available, it is always safer to travel by foot off of the road and in a pedestrian-designated space. If there is no sidewalk available on a particular patch of road, the best place to walk is the outer edge of the left lane. Walking toward oncoming traffic will give you plenty of time to adjust your position on the road as you notice a vehicle heading your way. This is safer than walking with your back to oncoming traffic, which can greatly reduce your reaction time to approaching cars.
Be visible. In the same way hunters wear reflective clothing, so should pedestrians prioritize their own visibility. Walking in dark clothing, especially as the sun is setting, is a recipe for invisibility to fast-moving vehicles. Instead, make sure to always wear light colored clothing, and carry a flashlight when walking at night.
Stay alert. In many situations, pedestrians do hold the right of way. Whether that be at crosswalks, in parking lots, or on sidewalks next to the road. However, don’t count out the possibility of distracted drivers on the road. No matter how confident you are in your right-of-way status, there is always the possibility that an oncoming vehicle simply is not paying attention. For that reason, always stay alert and aware of the moving cars around you. Avoid distractions, yourself, such as texting or listening to loud music, and you’ll be better prepared for any driver mishap that may occur.
Tips For Drivers
Yield to pedestrians. It can be frustrating to yield to something so much slower than your vehicle, such as pedestrians. However, when in doubt, always assume that they have the right-of-way. More importantly, assume they will use that advantage to reach their destination. Whether you are making a turn, approaching a crosswalk, or searching for a parking spot, always be on the lookout for walkers who may have just exited your blind spot to pass in front of you.
Reduce distractions. The act of driving almost becomes second nature to those who have been doing it long enough. We often experience muscle memory when commuting to work. It is a rare example of a dangerous activity that many perform complacently. Despite the nonchalant attitude many of us have towards driving, the risks never go away or even decrease. And the most dangerous type of driving is distracted driving. When traveling at high speeds, it really only takes a second or two of distraction from the road to cause a very serious accident. That is why driving without distractions is so important to pedestrian safety. Avoid distraction by keeping your radio volume down, putting your phone away and out of sight, and performing any activity that isn’t driving (such as taking a call or eating your lunch) while safely parked.
We hope these tips will help you share the road safely with drivers and pedestrians, making it safer for all of us!