We all know that walking to work is good for your health. The benefits of fresh air, increased heart rate, and the relaxing effects of movement are well documented. It’s healthy to walk anywhere! But, what about the risks? When you hear medical advice, suggesting that you walk more, you rarely hear about the dangers inherent in this activity. In 2019, 972 people lost their lives out walking as pedestrians. It’s your prerogative to exercise for your health, but it’s also your responsibility to make sure you stay safe.
If you do find yourself the victim of a pedestrian accident, don’t hesitate to hire an experienced attorney. But, in the hopes of avoiding any such harm, let’s take a look at some tips for staying safe while enjoying a walk outdoors.
- Follow the laws
This seems obvious, but the rules are not made to be broken when it comes to traffic safety. Using crosswalks, crossing only when lights and signs permit it, and avoiding jaywalking are all proactive ways to look out for yourself. You’ll also avoid tickets and dirty looks.
- Let someone know where you are
If you are going for a walk, let someone know what you’re doing. Share your route and your estimated arrival time with a friend. This way, if something does happen, there will be people to send help if you are missing.
- Be visible
There’s a reason seasoned walkers have reflective tape on them, day or night. They value their safety, and they know from experience that staying visible is one of your first lines of defense against accident or injury. Wear white or fluorescent gear, from your own closet, or invest in a reflective vest or set of straps.
And this is not just for nighttime, you want to be noticed by drivers during the day as well. Drivers are out there with a million things on their minds, so do your part to help them see you.
- Stay alert
Pay attention to your route and the path in front of you, but also to your surroundings. Check out the traffic at the spotlight up ahead, look for turning lanes and those with cars crossing against the light. Is anyone driving erratically? Are there any big blind spots? Is the traffic coming out very quickly on the green light? Keep your eye out for anything coming, because if it has a motor it will be coming fast.
The same goes for staying alert with your ears as well. Listening to loud music or podcasts could distract you from warnings, horns, or the sound of oncoming traffic.
- Know your limitations
Make sure you set up a walking plan for yourself. Take into account your overall health, and be realistic. Don’t let yourself get stranded in an unfamiliar area, too tired or sore to go on. And don’t forget to bring water, no matter what, and a snack if you think you will need it. Think about your risk of falling and your mobility limitations and plan accordingly. As you walk you will be able to handle more and more, so don’t push yourself too hard at first.