When you park your car, get out and walk to your destination, you automatically transition from being a driver to a pedestrian. Therefore, everyone is a pedestrian at some point, even those who rely heavily on motor vehicles for transportation.
As a pedestrian, you are at a disadvantage when it comes to sharing the road with cars and trucks. Pedestrians account for 3% of all people injured in motor vehicle accidents and 14% of all traffic fatalities.
It can be intimidating sharing the road with cars and trucks as a pedestrian, but it does not have to be. In the first place, pedestrian safety has improved greatly on roadways due to improvements in infrastructure by the Federal Highway Administration. In the second place, there are safety practices you can adopt to avoid a collision with a motor vehicle.
1. Only walk where it is safest
Some roads and highways that do not allow pedestrian traffic, and obviously you should avoid walking them. In areas that allow foot traffic, stay on the sidewalks and cross at the crosswalks whenever possible. A crosswalk may not always be available, but where it is not, cross at the most well-lit spot on the road.
2. Try to make eye contact
When crossing the street, try to catch the drivers’ eyes whenever possible. By making eye contact with a driver, you can be sure that he or she sees you. This is especially important during inclement weather and in low-light conditions, e.g., at night.
3. Avoid distractions
Your eyes and ears can alert you to several dangers on the road. Therefore, you should avoid wearing headphones while walking. You should also avoid cell phone use or anything that takes your eyes away from the road while walking. Not only could you be at greater risk for walking into traffic and getting hit by a car when texting and walking, but you could also trip over obstacles, fall down steps or off curbs, or bump into a wall.
Essentially, as a pedestrian, you should behave the way that you hope drivers will behave toward you by obeying the traffic laws and avoiding distractions.