Tips for Pedestrian Safety
Both drivers and pedestrians share responsibility for remaining safe on Mississippi streets. Whether you walk miles every day for exercise or occasionally jaunt to the corner store, everyone is a pedestrian at some point. You should expect to share the road with motor vehicles, even if you live in a very rural location.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission (NHTSA) has made several improvements over the past decade that makes it safer than ever to walk to where you need to go. Infrastructure improvements have created more medians and road redesign has improved the flow of traffic for bicyclists and people on foot. Below we discuss several things you can do as a pedestrian to improve your own safety.
Avoid Distractions and Remain Alert
It seems people can’t go anywhere these days without their smartphone or other electronic devices, including when they go for a walk. However, these devices distract your attention just as much as a pedestrian as they do when you’re a driver. While it’s good to carry a cell phone with you in case of emergency, keep it in your purse or pocket the entire time. We also recommend that you forgo listening to music through headphones. Remain alert to your surroundings and don’t hesitate to return home or duck into a business if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable.
Don’t Go for a Walk if You Have Been Drinking
Drinking too much alcohol impairs your reflexes as well as your ability to make good judgments. This is just as true when you’re on foot as when you’re driving. According to the NHTSA, approximately half of all accidents that resulted in the death of pedestrian involved alcohol. It might surprise you to learn that the pedestrian was the one who had consumed too much in one-third of the cases.
Limit Your Walks to Safe Places
The safest place for you to walk is on a sidewalk. Since it’s designated for people on foot and sometimes for bicyclists, you don’t have to worry about motorized traffic. Unfortunately, you won’t always find a sidewalk available. In this situation, walk as far to the side of the road as possible and make sure that you’re walking towards traffic and not away from it. This allows you to see what’s coming and it also allows drivers to see you.
Cross the street at controlled intersections whenever possible. If there’s a traffic light, push the button indicating you want to cross and wait until you get the go-ahead to walk. Don’t attempt to cross the street against the light, even if you don’t see any traffic coming. When there’s no traffic light or stop sign to direct your crossing, wait until you see a decent break in traffic before attempting to cross. When in doubt if you can make it across in time, wait until you’re sure. It’s also important that you not walk along highways or freeways as this is extremely dangerous.
Make Sure That Drivers See You
Before you step into a crosswalk, attempt to make eye contact with drivers closest to you at the intersection if possible. This ensures that you each know the other’s intentions. It’s also important to wear clothing that allows drivers to see you in all types of conditions. Put on your brightest clothing during the day and chose reflective or lightly colored clothing when you walk at night. We also recommend the latter when you’re out walking during inclement weather or during low lighting conditions. With one-third of all pedestrian accidents occurring between 8:00 p.m. and midnight, you just can’t be too careful.
Contact an Experienced Pedestrian Accident Attorney if You Suffer Injuries
Sometimes you do everything right and a driver still strikes you when you’re out walking. If you’re dealing with the aftermath of such an accident, we encourage you to schedule a free consultation with the experienced personal injury team at Gardner Law Firm. You can reach us in Biloxi at 228-436-6555, Hattiesburg at 601-582-4300, or Pascagoula at 228-762-6555.