Walking is a healthy and environment-friendly way to get around, but it can also expose you to certain risks, especially if you live in a busy city in California. The California Office of Traffic Safety reported that the rate of fatalities for pedestrians in California is almost 25% higher than the national average.
Safety should always be your top priority when you are a pedestrian and there are several steps you can take to avoid accidents while walking.
Stay visible to drivers
One of the best ways to avoid accidents is to ensure that drivers can see you. Wear bright or reflective clothing, especially when walking at night or in low-light conditions. Avoid walking in a vehicle’s blind spot and always make eye contact with drivers when crossing roads to make sure they have seen you.
Use crosswalks and sidewalks
Always use designated crosswalks when crossing the road. Crosswalks are more visible to drivers, making it safer for you to cross. When sidewalks are available, use them instead of walking on the road. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing the traffic so you can see oncoming vehicles and step aside if necessary.
Stay alert and focused
Keep your senses fully engaged when walking. Avoid using headphones, texting or doing anything else that might distract you from your surroundings. Look out for vehicles coming from all directions, particularly when crossing intersections.
Follow traffic signals
Obey all traffic signals and signs. Do not start crossing if the pedestrian signal indicates “do not walk”. Even if the signal is on “walk”, always check for oncoming traffic before crossing.
Avoid alcohol and drugs
Avoid walking under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They can impair your ability to walk safely, affecting your balance, coordination and decision-making skills.
While you cannot control the actions of drivers, you can reduce your risk of being in a pedestrian accident by staying alert and being proactive. Always remember that your safety is in your hands, so take every precaution to protect yourself when walking on California roads.