Submitted by Pat G., Sprout Contributor
Source: PA Department of Transportation
Walking is one of the healthiest ways for adults to keep in shape. It is something that we all do daily to some extent...even those of us who drive cars. The medical profession recommends walking as a means of promoting health. However, walking can be a dangerous occupation, especially near busy streets. Streets were designed for vehicles, not pedestrians. So, when we're walking we have to pay particular attention to make sure that those drivers know that we are out and about.
Here are some life-saving tips for pedestrians:
When walking along a road where there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic and keep as far to the left of the road as possible.
Walking at night is a dangerous activity because it is more difficult to see and be seen. Pedestrians who must walk at night should carry a lighted flashlight and wear clothing made with retroreflective materials.
The hazards of drinking or using medications while driving are well known. But alcohol and drugs can also impair a person's ability to walk safely. Stay away from traffic after drinking alcohol or when taking medications that cause dizziness or blurred vision.
Be especially alert for cars backing out of parking lots or driveways.
When crossing streets or busy intersections, follow these easy-to-remember rules:
Always stop at the curb or edge of the road before entering the street or road.
Search for oncoming traffic by looking left, then right, and then left again, before entering the street. They used to say look both ways, but recent studies have shown that that final check to our left can help pick out any cars that might have enter the roadway since we started to search. That extra look might save us from walking in front of a car that just pulled away from the curb. It's a good habit to get into.
If a car is coming, wait until it has passed and then search again. Remember to continue searching for approaching vehicles all the while you are crossing the street.
Remember that most states permit cars to make a right turn on a red light. When crossing a busy intersection, take a look over your shoulder to see if cars might be turning into your path.
If your view of oncoming traffic is blocked by parked cars or other obstacles, move out to where the road can be seen clearly and then begin your search procedure.
If the "DON'T WALK" sign starts to flash, pedestrians who are already in the intersection should continue to cross; but pedestrians on the curb should wait until the "WALK" sign appears.
When crossing in the middle of the block:
While it is not safe to cross in the middle of the block on bust streets, we all know that there are times we do just that. If you must cross at mid-block, always remember to stop at the edfe of the curb and search for oncoming traffic.
When crossing between parked cars, walk to the edge of the parked vehicles and begin your search procedure when you can see the street clearly.
There are many areas where traffic flow is heavy and complex. Signs and signals in those areas may be difficult to understand. Most of us are usually law-abiding and quite familiar with the signals that control traffic at intersections. But, it is important to remember that traffic signals and painted crosswalks don't always provide enough protection.
Drivers will not always be looking out for pedestrians. So it is up to us, the walking public, to be alert and on the defensive. The bottom line is that in a match between a 3000 lb. car and us, we'll show the most damage. The primary responsibility for ensuring our daily walks are pleasant, healthful and safe does not lie with the driver or the traffic engineer. It rests with us, the adult walker.
Even though we've been "walkers" all our lives, it might be worthwhile to review some tips that might help keep us safe while walking.