4 ways to reduce your risks as a pedestrian

Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise across the country, and they rose in 2020 even while fewer motorists took the nation’s roadways. While you may not be able to control the actions of negligent drivers, there are a number of things you might do to reduce the risks you face as a pedestrian.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 6,205 pedestrians died nationwide in 2019, with one pedestrian dying every 85 minutes. To help yourself stay safe when traveling on foot, consider doing the following.

Use crosswalks or intersections

Many car-on-pedestrian crashes take place when pedestrians cross in areas where motorists do not expect them. When you have to cross a road, use a crosswalk, or try to do so in an intersection, where drivers are more likely to scan for pedestrians before moving.

Put down the phone

Drivers may be using their cellphones or otherwise not be paying attention, so you need to make sure you are. While driving and using a handheld phone is dangerous, so, too, is walking and using one.

Be smart at night

Walking at night has increased risks. Wear reflective clothing or use a headlamp or flashlight when walking after dark to raise the chances of drivers seeing you.

Use sidewalks

Use sidewalks whenever possible and refrain from walking in high-traffic areas that lack them.

Many communities are adding more sidewalks and crossing areas and making similar efforts to become more pedestrian-friendly. While these efforts may help reduce pedestrian-involved crashes and fatalities, you still want to remain vigilant when traveling on foot.