How to stay safe as a pedestrian

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that motor vehicle accidents result in a pedestrian fatality about every 88 minutes in the United States. If you frequently walk to get around town or exercise, you have a 150% higher risk for death in a car accident than someone riding in a vehicle.

These safety tips can help you protect yourself from auto accident injury as a pedestrian.

Abide by traffic laws

Pay attention to signs and signals when walking near the road. Do not enter the road except at crosswalks. Avoid acting in a way that could surprise a driver and result in loss of control of the vehicle.

Stay visible

If possible, avoid walking after the sun goes down. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, more than two-thirds of pedestrian auto accident deaths occur at night. If you must travel after dark, wear reflective tape or clothing and carry a flashlight so drivers can see you.

No matter what time of day, remain on a walking path or sidewalk when possible. If you have to walk in the road, stay as close to the shoulder as possible and walk facing drivers.

Ditch dangers and distractions

Texting and listening to music take your attention away from your surroundings, which can result in an accident. Substance use as a pedestrian also increases the chances of a dangerous incident. Plan ahead for a safe walk by staying away from drugs and alcohol and keeping your smartphone stowed away.

Following these strategies can help you arrive at your destination safely when traveling by foot.