Walking is good for your health. Medical experts say that a brisk walk can help you maintain a healthy weight, prevent disease, strengthen bones, lift your mood, and improve your balance. Walking poses risks, however. The CDC reports that approximately 4,000 pedestrians die every year from traffic accidents, and that approximately 70,000 more pedestrians suffer traffic-related injuries. With such a significant risk of harm, walkers of all ages can benefit from taking some basic safety precautions.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
The best advice for keeping safe while walking is to be predictable, noticeable, and clear-headed.
Be Predictable – Follow the rules of the road. Use sidewalks and crosswalks. Stay off of restricted zones such as freeways. Where there are no sidewalks, it is usually safest to walk facing road traffic.
Be Noticeable – Dress in light colors. Consider wearing reflective gear at night, especially when walking in areas with poor lighting.
Be Clear-Headed – As much as a third of all pedestrians killed in traffic accidents are legally drunk. Recognize that alcohol and drugs can impair your ability to walk safely, just as such substances can impair your ability to drive safely.
Safety Tips for Drivers
While driving remember that you can encounter pedestrians any time and at any place, including places where they are not supposed to be found. Pay particular attention near schools, in neighborhoods, and when driving through a crosswalk.
Keeping Your Children Safe
Children bear a particularly high risk of suffering harm from pedestrian injuries. Teenagers bear a particularly high risk of harm, accounting for half of all child pedestrian deaths. To keep your child safe consider the following:
Know Your Routes – Speak with your children about what it means to wake safely. Teach them to use pedestrian walkways and paths, to cross the street at corners, and to properly use traffic signals and crosswalks.
Put Down The Smartphone – Teach your children to pay attention to their surroundings, especially when crossing the street. This includes avoiding distractions like cell phones, mp3 players, and similar electronic devices.
Cross With an Adult – Children of a certain age should only cross the street with the help of an adult. Children under ten years of age may find it difficult to properly judge the speed and distance of passing cars.
Make Eye Contact – Teach your children to make eye contact with drivers. Such eye contact is important when navigating intersections or when walking through parking lots. Remind your children to pay particular attention to drivers who may not see them, such as drivers backing up or looking in the opposite direction.
When You or Your Loved One Has Been Injured
Given the speed and size of vehicles on the roadway, pedestrians who are injured in traffic accidents can suffer significant injuries. If you are someone you love has been hurt in a traffic accident, it is vital that you contact a skilled personal injury attorney. When your injuries are due to the negligent actions of other drivers, the law entitles you to compensation. An attorney can review the facts of your case and determine whether you have a viable claim. If so, they can help you seek the compensation you deserve.