Pedestrian safety tips

Walking is a great way to get outside, stay active and reduce your carbon footprint. But walking near roads — especially with distracted drivers behind the wheel — calls for practicing safe habits. Follow these pedestrian tips to help stay safe the next time you take to the streets by foot.

Look before you step

You’ve been told this from the time you were able to walk. Always look left, right, and then left again before crossing. This is relevant to any pedestrian regardless of their age. Never step into the street without checking for cars.

Don’t assume cars will stop

Make eye contact with the driver to make sure that you are seen. One driver stopping in his or her lane to let you cross does not guarantee that all drivers in all lanes will stop. Before crossing the entire intersection ensure that every approaching driver has seen you and has come to a complete stop.

Avoid distractions

While it’s often tempting to multi-task, avoid texting a friend and keep your phone in your pocket when crossing a street. Your 15 seconds of undivided attention while crossing will protect you. As important it is for drivers to refrain from distractions, always be aware of where you are walking as well as your surroundings.

Follow pedestrian signals

Those walk signals are designed to help you cross safely, and they may differ from the traffic signals which are designed strictly for the vehicles on the road. Follow the pedestrian version to ensure your safety. You may have the walk signal, but drivers making right turns may fail to yield for you. This rule applies at designated crosswalks as well.

Cross in well-lit areas

Using well-lit areas to cross streets increases your visibility and safety. Crossing at night can be more dangerous as you become less visible to drivers. It’s important to always keep this in mind, especially if you are wearing darker colored clothing.

Pay closer attention in alleyways

When crossing alleys or narrow exits like those in shopping centers, look closely for approaching cars. Drivers are less aware and sometimes less cautious in these areas. Remember, if you can’t see them, they can’t see you either.