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Safety Tips for Pedestrians on National Walking Day

By: Linus Britt


two young businessmen out for a walk

National Walking Day, celebrated the first week in  April, is an excellent opportunity to remind your employees about the importance of pedestrian safety. As more workers embrace the benefits of walking by walking to the office or on their breaks, it’s crucial to stay vigilant and safe. Here are vital safety tips for pedestrians to consider as they step out for work or recreation.

Make Yourself Visible

The pedestrian accident lawyers at Harris & Harris Injury Law Firm recommend to wear bright and fluorescent colors to increase your visibility to others:

  • Wear Bright and Fluorescent Colors: High visibility clothing acts as a visual alert to drivers. During daylight hours, bright and fluorescent colors are very effective. They stand out against the background, making it easier for drivers to notice your presence from a distance.
  • Use Reflective Materials: In low-light conditions or during the night, reflective materials are your best choice. These materials bounce back light from car headlights, making you illuminate in the driver’s vision. Consider wearing a reflective vest, belt, wristbands, or shoes with reflective patches.
  • Light Up the Night: Small flashlights, headlamps, or wearable LED lights can dramatically increase your visibility. Carrying a light not only helps illuminate the path in front of you but also draws attention to your position on the road. Wearing light-up armbands or clip-on flashing lights can add more visibility to your movements, ensuring you are seen from different angles.
  • Use Reflective Accessories: Reflective tape can be applied to clothing, bags, or even walking sticks. Attach reflective charms or pendants to your clothes or accessories for additional points of light-catching.
  • Select Proper Clothing for Weather Conditions: Weather can affect how well drivers can see pedestrians. In rain, fog, or snow, it’s wise to wear waterproof gear with reflective qualities. Not only will this keep you dry, but it will also catch light similarly to standard reflective materials.
  • Positioning Matters: Aside from what you wear, being seen is also about where you walk. Always walk in well-lit areas when possible, and avoid blind spots where drivers might not expect to see pedestrians, such as between parked cars or on curves.
  • Advocate Reflective Gear: If you frequently walk with a group or part of a walking club, advocate for mandatory reflective gear during outings. This not only enhances the group’s visibility but also promotes collective safety practices.
  • Visible Pets: If walking with a pet at night, ensure they are also visible. Use reflective leashes, collars, and harnesses, or even attach a blinking light to your pet’s collar so that both of you are safe from oncoming traffic.
  • Model the Behavior: Especially if you’re a parent or caregiver, setting an example by wearing bright colors and reflective gear can instill good safety habits in young ones.

Carry a flashlight or wear light-up armbands when walking in the dark. Lights not only help you see where you’re going but also make it significantly easier for drivers to notice you.

Stay Alert

Two business women in conversation walking on city street. Corporate colleagues discussing new project while going to work. Two mature formal women discussing business outdoor.

Stay vigilant by not letting your phone or other distractions take your attention away from your environment. Always be aware of your surroundings and the activity around you. Avoid using headphones or, if you do, keep the volume low so you can hear nearby traffic, honking horns, or other potential warning sounds.

Follow the Rules

Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, and adhere to pedestrian signals. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing to ensure they see you and are giving you the right of way.

 While pedestrians often have the right of way, not all drivers may adhere to this rule. Make sure vehicles come to a complete stop, or drivers wave you across before stepping into the road.

Utilize Crosswalks and Sidewalks

Use marked crosswalks or intersections wherever available. These are the places drivers expect to encounter pedestrians and are more likely to yield. Whenever possible, use sidewalks to maintain a safe distance from the road. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.

Watch for Cars in All Directions

Drivers backing out may not always have a clear view. Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways and alleys or moving in a parking lot. At traffic signals, keep an eye out for vehicles making turns. They may be focused on the intersection and not on pedestrians.

Be Predictable

Make your actions predictable. Don’t cross suddenly or move into the driver’s path unexpectedly. Stay clear of parked cars, bushes or other obstacles that may obstruct a driver’s view of you.

Plan for Safety

Plan your walking route to use sidewalks, crosswalks, and paths whenever possible. Avoid busy roads with no sidewalks or poorly lit areas. Always be prepared for the unexpected, such as a car failing to yield, a cyclist on the sidewalk, or a dog off its leash.

Special Considerations for Children and Elderly

Older children should walk with an adult or responsible older child until they’re old enough to understand and practice safe walking habits. Elderly and mobility-impaired pedestrians may need more time to cross the road. Offer assistance when you see someone who may need support.

Take the opportunity to enjoy the many benefits of walking, while also committing to keeping yourselves and your loved ones safe. Now tie your laces, step out confidently, and have a safe walk!

Published: April 10, 2024

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