Whether you are a runner or a walker, as a pedestrian you are one of the most vulnerable individuals on Kentucky roads. Devoid of the protection a metal car or even a bike helmet, pedestrian accidents can result in severe injuries and even death.
While drivers and bikers should be careful to protect pedestrians, you need to look out for your own health and well-being. Drunk driving or distracted driving behaviors can quickly place you in harm's way. How can you protect your health and decrease your chances of accident and injury?
4 key ways to protect your health
As a pedestrian, increase your visibility and situational awareness to protect your health. To do this, you can:
- Wear bright colors and reflective materials. Drivers are accustomed to looking out for other large cars and trucks. Due to your smaller size, it may be more difficult for them to see you until it is too late. Wear bright colors and reflective materials to increase your visibility, especially at night. In the evening, consider carrying a flashlight to help drivers see you from a distance.
- Use sidewalks or face oncoming traffic.Always use a sidewalk if it is available. If not, walk as close to the curb as possible, facing on-coming traffic. This allows you to watch the drivers' behavior and quickly move out of the way if they do not see you. If cars are to your back, you have no way of knowing their position on the street and are much more vulnerable to distracted drivers who fail to allot you a safe passing distance.
- Make eye contact with drivers.Before you cross the street in front of a car, try to make eye contact with the driver to ensure that they see you and are planning to stop. Check to see if they wave you across, flash their lights or use other signals to indicate that they are relinquishing right of way privileges to you.
- Do not expect drivers to follow basic traffic laws.Never assume that drivers will stop at red lights or stop signs or that they will let you cross in a cross walk. Always assume that the driver is not paying attention and does not see you. This will make you more aware of the situation at hand and help you anticipate a driver's potential mistakes.
Reciprocate the consideration
As a pedestrian you understand how vulnerable walkers and joggers really are. Keep this in mind when you get behind the wheel of your car. Afford pedestrians the same care and consideration that you hope vehicles will provide you. Patience and awareness can help prevent unnecessary accidents and save lives.