Walking is one of the most basic forms of exercise and transportation. There are many health experts who recommend that people get at least 10,000 steps a day, and plenty of those concerned about the environment also recommend walking whenever possible.
Whether you walk to the local shop to pick up some supplies for dinner or to the library once a week to check out some new books, you have some risk of injury from being so close to motor vehicles. Drivers can make mistakes at the wheel that have life-altering consequences for the pedestrians that they hit.
Understanding four of the most common risk factors for pedestrian collisions can help you stay a little safer out on the road.
Low light levels
Many pedestrian crashes occur during transitional times of day when the sun is coming up or going down or at night after the sun has set. When it is dark, drivers will have a harder time seeing you. They may also not take the time to look for pedestrians, which might mean they fail to notice you even if you wear illuminated gear or cross someplace with street lights.
Higher speed limits
There’s a strong correlation between higher rates of speed and more serious injuries. When drivers travel at speeds over 30 mph, a pedestrian’s risk of dying increases substantially. Choosing to walk on streets with lower speed limits might potentially save your life.
Everybody recognizes that distracted drivers are dangerous, but many people see no issue with walking around with their face glued to their phones. If you have your phone in your hands, you may not look up as you step into the street and could put yourself in a very dangerous position.
Chemical impairments in both drivers and pedestrians will increase the risk of a pedestrian collision occurring. Obviously, it is smarter to walk home after drinking than to try to drive home. However, drunk pedestrians might stumble or make unpredictable choices that lead to a driver striking them.
When you understand risk factors that increase your chance of a pedestrian crash, you can make harm reduction choices that keep you a little bit safer.