When summer winds down and fall starts again, the days gradually grow shorter and the nights longer – and that means the risks for pedestrians increase.
According to government data, more than 35% of all pedestrian fatalities occur in the dark, while an additional 39% take place after dark albeit in lighted areas, like urban streets. If you or your loved ones regularly walk or cycle to work, school or just for relaxation, those are some scary statistics – so it only makes sense to try to mitigate your risks as much as possible.
Remember that visibility is key
Invest in reflective clothing and accessories – and consider even adding reflective tape on your clothing, shoes and bags to make sure drivers can see you, especially during the early morning or evening hours when drivers may be less alert. Carrying a flashlight is also a smart idea to illuminate your path and increase your visibility to others.
Be cautious around fallen leaves
Falling leaves in the autumn can be gorgeous, but they can also be quite hazardous. Wet leaves can become slippery, making it easy to lose your footing. Wear shoes with good, non-slip tread and use caution when walking on leaf-covered sidewalks or when you have to step into the road because there are no sidewalks around. A fall in front of a moving vehicle could be deadly.
Don’t let yourself get distracted
It’s all too easy to get engrossed in a smartphone or another electronic device while walking, but distractions can be deadly. Keep your attention focused on your surroundings and stay aware of traffic and other potential hazards – particularly when you’re crossing a street. If you enter a crosswalk, make sure you put your smartphone down and lift your eyes up.
Use crosswalks whenever possible
Always use crosswalks and pedestrian signals when they’re available. When possible, make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you and make sure traffic has come to a full stop before you step into the walk. Even though you have the right-of-way, you don’t want to trust drivers to obey the law when you’re safety is on the line.
Stay alert in parking lots
Parking lots can be particularly hazardous for pedestrians, especially in urban areas where parking is at a premium. Drivers may be more focused on finding a spot than looking out for walkers. Be vigilant and avoid walking behind or between parked cars.
If you’re injured while walking by a driver who wasn’t paying attention, you may need considerable recovery time. Learning more about your right to compensation can potentially help you to mitigate the financial consequences of the harm you’ve suffered.