Walking around and taking in nature or architecture is a pleasure all Minnesotans should be able to take in — especially as the warmer months stick around. Although your main priority is enjoying yourself when you take a stroll, whenever you walk near vehicles it’s essential to keep safety in mind.
You can use a lot of the safety precautions you take behind the wheel to protect yourself as a pedestrian. This can include cutting out distractions, staying on paths that are meant for walkers and increasing your visibility.
Don’t text and walk
You probably know it’s best not to drive while distracted and that using your phone behind the wheel is very dangerous. When you are texting, not only do you use your mind to craft or read a message, but you are most likely looking at your screen rather than the scene that is in front of you. Of course, when you are walking you aren’t moving as fast as traffic, but if you are walking alongside traffic and aren’t paying attention you could collide with a car at an intersection. Instead, you can just pause your walk, move from the path and send out any texts you need to from a safe spot.
Make your presence known
As a motorist, it’s probably rare that you forget to put your headlights on when you drive at night or through foggy conditions. You understand that you’re more likely to crash if you aren’t visible to oncoming traffic. As a pedestrian, your safest bet is to make your presence known both during the day and at night. You can do this by wearing bright colors while the sun is out and wearing clothing and shoes with reflective features at night. Using a flashlight can also be mutually beneficial at night — motorists may see you better and it will illuminate your route.
Take the path most traveled on
There are safe ways and places to go off-roading in your vehicle, but during most of your drives you stay on city streets and highways. In a similar way, there are lots of unmarked or unpaved paths you may want to explore by foot. But whether you are near busy or quiet streets, it’s best to take paths that are either marked or meant for pedestrians. If you have no choice but to walk on a road, then try and stay as close to the side of the road as possible and walk toward traffic.
Although driving and walking are so different, implementing defensive behaviors can be helpful in either mode of transportation.