There are many benefits to walking as a mode of transportation. It is healthy for the environment, it is a good form of exercise, and it allows to get to know your community in a way that you might not be able to if you were driving a car. However, sharing the road with automobiles as a pedestrian also puts you at risk of becoming involved in an accident.
If you are hit by a car as a pedestrian, the odds are not in your favor. Compared to vehicle passengers, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to die in a car accident. In 2015, emergency departments in the United States treated 129,000 non-fatal pedestrian injuries related to crashes. One year later, the United States suffered 5,987 pedestrian fatalities as a result of motor vehicle accidents.
The good news is that, even as a pedestrian, a Sumter County personal injury resulting from a car accident is not inevitable. You have a duty to take some responsibility for your own safety as a pedestrian. Fortunately, fulfilling this duty and protecting yourself is often a relatively simple matter.
1. Stay on the Sidewalk When Possible
As a pedestrian, the sidewalk is the safest place for you to be. Drivers who are obeying traffic laws and driving responsibly will not follow you there.
Unfortunately, however, sometimes there are no sidewalks available. When that happens, the rule is that you walk as close as possible to the left-hand shoulder of the road, facing traffic. This helps keep you visible to the drivers of oncoming cars.
2. Boost Visibility Day and Night
In addition to walking on the left shoulder when there are no sidewalks available, there are other steps you can take to make yourself more visible. This is especially important whenever you are walking in the dark. It is best to wear reflective clothing and/or carry a flashlight so that drivers can see you. These measures are usually not necessary during the day, but you can still give your visibility a boost by wearing brightly colored clothing.
3. Behave Predictably
Drivers are more likely to hit pedestrians that behave in ways that are unpredictable and/or inconsistent with the rules of the road. Responsible drivers know how traffic rules apply to pedestrians, and you should too. As an example of predictability, cross the street at an intersection or crosswalk whenever possible. Jaywalking is not only against the law, it increases your chances of being hit because it is a behavior that runs counter to drivers’ expectations.
Regardless of your preferred method of travel, you will almost certainly be a pedestrian at some point in your life. You can decrease your chances of an accident by taking responsibility for your own safety.