For the most part, walking is good for you. But there are times when it can be dangerous—specifically when walking near traffic.
Consider these sobering statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
In 2020, there were 6,516 pedestrians killed in traffic crashes, the highest since 1990 and a 3.9% increase from 2019. On average, a pedestrian died every 81 minutes in 2020 — accounting for 17% of all traffic fatalities.
Why does this happen? Pedestrian traffic deaths have many causes, but according to NHTSA data from 2013, most occur in urban areas (73%), in non-intersection locations (69%), and when it’s dark (72%).
In this article, we’ll go over the best safety tips to help ensure you don’t get hurt as a pedestrian or hurt someone else as a driver.
Let’s get started!
When you’re walking …
- Stay on the sidewalk
The sidewalk is one of the safest places to be as a pedestrian because it’s made specifically for walking. So use it as much as possible.
If no sidewalk is available, see if you can take an alternate route that has a walking path. Walking on the side of the road should be a last resort, but if you must do it, stay as far away from traffic as possible and walk facing it so that you can better see oncoming vehicles.
- Use crosswalks
When it comes to crossing the street, use the crosswalk. Again, crosswalks are made for pedestrians. It’s where drivers will most expect to see you. So avoid jaywalking and wait until you get to a designated crosswalk (usually located along intersections and corners).
Before crossing, wait for the crosswalk light to turn green (if there is one). Then look both ways. Look left, then right, and then left again. Stay alert for traffic until you get to the other side of the street.
- Put your phone away
It’s no secret that for many, phones have become a huge distraction. And that’s true for when people walk, too.
According to a study by New York’s Stony Brook University, participants were 61% more likely to veer off course when using their cell phone while walking and 13% more likely to overshoot a target placed a few meters away.
That means if you’re looking down at your phone while walking, you are more likely to accidentally walk into traffic or a parked car. So put the phone down and pay attention to where you are going.
- Don’t walk drunk
Though you may be tempted to walk home drunk to avoid driving under the influence, don’t. Walking home drunk can be just as dangerous.
According to the NHTSA, in 2020, an estimated 47% of fatal pedestrian crashes involved a pedestrian who was drunk.
So instead of taking the risk of getting involved in an accident, get a cab or have a sober friend give you a ride home. It’s safer for you and other drivers.
- Make yourself visible
One simple way to lower the risk of getting hit as a pedestrian is to make yourself more visible to drivers. You can do this by walking during the day, wearing bright or reflective clothing, or carrying a flashlight when it’s dark.
Whatever you do, don’t assume that drivers see you.
And if you ever get hit by a car as a pedestrian, hire an experienced car accident attorney. They can help you get the compensation you deserve for any injuries, lost income, and more.
When you’re driving …
- Keep an eye out for pedestrians
Pedestrians can be hard to see, especially when it’s dark. So watch out for them.
Be especially cautious around neighborhoods and school zones, where children can sometimes dart out into the street unexpectedly. Stay alert and drive extra slowly.
- Yield to crossing pedestrians
Anytime a pedestrian crosses the street, it’s your job to yield as a driver. They have right of way, not you.
For the same reason, you should never try to pass another vehicle stopped at a crosswalk. They may be yielding to a pedestrian that you can’t see from your angle.
- Get rid of distractions
In 2020, 3,142 people were killed by distracted driving, and that includes pedestrians. Whether it’s texting, eating, drinking, or talking to other passengers, distractions can take your eyes off the road and increase the risk of an accident.
So give your full attention to the road. Everything else can wait.
- Keep the speed limit
Speeding also increases the risk of a pedestrian accident.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the percentage of pedestrian fatalities involving speeding in 2020 rose to 8.6%, a notable increase from 7.2% the year before. The organization also notes that the average risk of death for pedestrians increases exponentially the faster a vehicle is traveling, from 10% at 23 MPH to 90% at 58 MPH.
Why? For one, speeding gives you less time to react to pedestrians on the road, so you are more likely to hit them. Secondly, speeding exponentially increases the impact of a crash, leading to more serious injuries or death in the event of an accident.
So keep the speed limit. It’s there for a reason.
- Never drink and drive
Lastly, never drink and drive. It impairs your depth perception, your reaction time, and your ability to drive overall. In short, it’s a recipe for disaster.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of all the people who died in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers in 2020, 38% were passengers of the alcohol-impaired drivers, drivers or passengers of another vehicle, or nonoccupants (such as a pedestrian).
Driving drunk is extremely dangerous. That’s why it comes with serious legal consequences. It can lead to hefty fines (up to thousands of dollars), jail time (up to a year in some states), and losing your license.
Whether you are a driver or a pedestrian, make pedestrian safety a top priority. It could save your or someone else’s life.
Top 6 Investments for Your Child’s Future
If you’re looking to give your child a head start in life, there’s no better way than investing in their future with some wise choices. From saving for a college education to teaching them the importance of financial literacy, there are plenty of ways to help them gain the skills they need for successful adulthood. Here are six great investments you can make now that will provide dividends in the future:
Financial literacy is a critical skill that will remain valuable for life, and you should start teaching your child as early as possible. Not only can this help them understand basic concepts such as budgeting, saving, and responsible spending habits, but it can also increase their confidence when dealing with their finances. Encourage your children to save a portion of the money they receive, and show them how to make smart investments, such as opening up a savings account.
Positive Role Models
The people your kids look up greatly influence their lives, especially during their formative years. That’s why it’s crucial to be a good role model and surround them with positive role models who embody values such as honesty, hard work, and integrity which your children can learn from or aspire to emulate. This includes friends, family members, teachers, and mentors. Exposing your children to such people can help them broaden their horizons and see the world differently.
A Good Education
Investing in your child’s educational journey from elementary school to college will open doors to careers and opportunities they may not have had before. To save your child from the debt that comes with post-secondary education in Canada, start early and put into an RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan). This is a special type of investment account specifically designed to save for college expenses. It is essential to understand the structure and features of the plan and how it works to maximize your savings.
Quality Family Time
Set aside family time and special activities such as cooking, playing board games, or taking nature walks. This allows your children to bond with each other and explore the world around them. Investing in quality family time will provide endless opportunities for growth, learning, and development, setting your children up for a bright future. Spending time with your little ones will also create lasting memories that will stay with them forever. It will also teach them valuable skills such as communication and conflict resolution.
Investing in life insurance ensures your child’s future financial security. Not only will it protect them in case something unexpected happens, but it can also be used as an investment tool if you opt for the right policy. With the right plan, you can maximize the money your child will receive by providing them with a secure financial future should anything happen to you or your partner.
Mental Health Support
Life isn’t always easy; sometimes, your kids need extra help navigating life’s journey’s ups and downs. Mental health support takes many forms, from therapy sessions with psychologists or psychiatrists to mindfulness techniques like meditation. Supporting children during difficult times allows them to process emotions more effectively so they are better prepared for adulthood when life throws curveballs. With the rise of mental health issues in today’s society, it is vital to invest in your child’s mental health and ensure they have the right support system.
These are just a few top investments you can make for your child’s future. Whatever strategies you choose, remember that each has its benefits, from immediate gratification to long-term financial security. Investing in your child’s future will give them the skills and resources they need to live a successful, fulfilling life.
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