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How To Protect Yourself as a Pedestrian When There Are No Sidewalks

Published on Mar 5, 2024 at 8:53 pm in Pedestrian Accidents.

How To Protect Yourself as a Pedestrian When There Are No Sidewalks

Walking is a great way to get out for some exercise. Sometimes, it is even a necessary mode of transportation, especially in cities and other urban areas. However, the sidewalks are often missing or under construction, forcing you to walk on the road. Any time you travel on foot on a roadway, it can lead to a dangerous situation.  

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 60,000 pedestrians were injured nationwide in 2021.  

If you need to walk without a sidewalk but are worried about staying safe, here are a few tips on how to protect yourself as a pedestrian when there are no sidewalks. 

Pedestrians Are at Risk on the Road 

Unfortunately, pedestrian deaths are a common occurrence on Louisiana’s roads. Just in the first few months of the new year, there have already been almost 150 deaths per Louisiana State University (LSU). 

Those numbers are expected to rise as the weather improves and more people hit the streets. These accidents occur for a variety of reasons, such as: 

  • Pedestrians dashing out unexpectedly in front of a vehicle
  • Pedestrians running across an intersection
  • A car making a turn at an intersection
  • Pedestrians crossing a street with multiple lanes
  • Vehicles reversing

While sidewalks keep pedestrians safe from the road’s dangers, they may sometimes be broken or under construction. As a result, pedestrians must use the street to walk.  

What can you do to keep yourself safe from an accident? Here are a few safety tips: 

Walk Facing Traffic 

One way to keep yourself safe is by walking while facing traffic. By doing this, you can increase your visibility to the drivers. Along with that, you can see if there is a vehicle coming towards you and have plenty of time to react. If there are hills or curves, it is one way to protect yourself while navigating areas with limited visibility.  

Additionally, by facing traffic, you can spot oncoming vehicles from a greater distance than if you had your back turned to them.  

Stay Close to the Road’s Edge 

When walking in the street, you will want to distance yourself from the oncoming vehicles.  

For this reason, you may want to stay off to the farthest part of the road. Once again, this can help you stay more easily seen by the drivers on the road.  

If you stay close to the flow of traffic, someone could swerve and collide with you. Even when walking close to the edge, remain vigilant. You always want to go out for turning vehicles, intersections, and other potential hazards. 

Wear Bright Colors 

Wearing bright colors is a simple but highly effective safety practice that can enhance your visibility when walking near roads. Bright colors, such as neon yellow, orange, lime green, or even hot pink, stand out against the more neutral tones often found in urban environments. 

By wearing these colors, you become more noticeable to drivers. 

Even in the daytime, bright colors ensure drivers can spot you from a greater distance. During dawn, dusk, or overcast days, bright clothing can make a difference in your visibility.  

Be Predictable 

When a driver sees someone walking on the side of the road, they are not expecting them to dash out into the street. To stay safe, you need to be as predictable as possible. For example, don’t jaywalk. When you need to cross, only use the designated crosswalk.  

Additionally, you will want to obey all traffic signals and signs. Crossing mid-block or against traffic is risky and causes startle drivers.  

Put Away Any Distractions 

Today, everyone has a smartphone. You might want to catch up on browsing or texting while walking, but they should be put away when walking in the street. These devices can be a big distraction and pull your attention away from the traffic.  

Along with that, you should turn down the volume on your earphones. If you cannot use a sidewalk, you need to be aware of your surroundings to avoid an accident. Sometimes, there could be sirens, horns, or car engines that you may miss if you have the volume cranked in your headphones.  

Cross Safely 

If you need to cross the street, make sure to do so at a traffic light or walk sign. However, if they are unavailable, you will want to look both ways and ensure that no vehicles are entering your path. Even if it doesn’t look like there’s a heavy flow of traffic, you will want to stay alert.  

Drivers can always approach from either direction, so stay vigilant.  

Walk Single File 

If you travel with a group of people, you will want to walk single file on the road.  

While you might think a group will be better for visibility, walking side by side can be a huge distraction, taking your focus off the road. In these situations, you will want to practice safety over any socializing.  

Protect Yourself on the Road 

While these tips can help keep you safe on the road, you still could be involved in a motor vehicle accident due to someone’s elegance or reckless actions. If you have been injured, it may be time to reach out to skilled attorneys who have extensive experience handling pedestrian accident cases 

At Bianca | Matkins, we can help you understand your legal options in these cases.  

Free Case Review

Call us or fill out the form below to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation where we’ll hear your story and help you understand your legal options, advising you on what steps you can take next. If we can help with the next steps required, we will be happy to do so.

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