As fall progresses and winter approaches, the days are going to keep getting shorter and the night hours longer – and that means that pedestrians are at an increased risk of injury or death from encounters with negligent drivers.
According to data provided by the National Safety Council, only 19.36% of fatal roadway accidents involving pedestrians take place in broad daylight. The rest happen in low-light conditions.
Are there ways to stay safer while walking?
You definitely want to brush up on your safety practices if you’re walking the dog, walking for exercise, walking to work or taking the kids back and forth to school or a bus stop. This means:
- Wear reflective clothing: Make sure you are visible to others. Bright, light colors like white, yellow and fluorescents can help drivers spot you in time to put on their brakes. So can a reflective vest or reflective accessories like wristbands and ankle bands.
- Carry a flashlight: A flashlight can help you see where you’re going and alert others to your presence. Make sure to keep the batteries charged or carry extras. (If you’re only walking around for a special occasion, like Halloween, glow sticks are a great option, since they can be bent into bracelets and worn as necklaces.)
- Stay on well-lit paths: Whenever possible, choose routes that are well-lit. Stick to sidewalks, pathways or streets with street lights. Avoid shortcuts through dark areas or unlit paths. Use crosswalks and pedestrian signals and don’t jaywalk.
- Always walk facing traffic: If you must walk on the road because there is no sidewalk, always walk facing oncoming traffic. This allows you to see vehicles approaching – and helps the drivers of those vehicles see you.
- Stay alert and avoid distractions: Keep your phone in your pocket and stay focused on your surroundings. Being aware of your environment is crucial in low-light conditions.
- Be cautious at intersections: Be especially cautious when crossing streets or intersections. You cannot count on drivers to slow down and look for pedestrians. Look both ways, try to make eye contact with drivers, and wait for clear signals before you step into the road.
Remember that safety should be your top priority when walking in low-light conditions, whether that’s simply close to dusk or dawn, or after dark (even in areas where there are street lights). If you are injured by a negligent driver, it’s always wisest to seek legal guidance as you pursue a claim for fair compensation. The personal injury lawyers at Suisman Shapiro can help.