According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, walking is 36 times more dangerous than driving, and 300 times more dangerous than flying. In 2008, 69,000 pedestrians were injured in traffic crashes and nearly 5,000 were killed.
Walk Defensively - Look both ways before crossing the street! This isn’t just a lesson for children but critical advice for all pedestrians. Motorists can run a stop sign or a red light, or make a quick turn, catching a pedestrian off guard. Use sidewalks when you can, but if that is not an option, be sure to walk facing traffic as far off the road as you can get. Do not be distracted by cell phones, PDAs or headsets.
Cross Streets at Intersections - If there are marked crosswalks, use them. Use pedestrian push buttons for crossing protection at signalized intersections. If there are no traffic control signs or crossing guards, then look in all directions and only cross when traffic has cleared. If possible, do not cross at a bend in the road.
Be Careful in Parking Lots - Many drivers do not know that pedestrians have the right-of-way in parking lots. Cars often drive both ways up and down the aisles. Take extra caution when stepping out of your car.
Be Safe When Getting On or Off a Bus - Motorists don’t always stop for loading and unloading buses. Pause a moment before crossing the street. Look in all directions. Do not step into traffic between parked cars. Drivers may not see you.
Walking at Dusk and in the Evening Hours - Walking at night increases your chances of an accident. Drivers cannot avoid what they cannot see. Wear brightly-colored or reflective clothing or shoes.
Supervise and Teach Your Children About Safe Walking - Remember that children under nine years old often lack the judgment to make safe choices when dealing with traffic. Their size also makes them difficult for motorists to see. Children should always cross the street with an adult.
When walking, be aware of those around you. If someone has been following you for quite a while, be suspicious.
Avoid walking with large bags, backpacks or luggage. These items can be a target for pickpockets and thieves. Additionally, fumbling with bags can also distract you from traffic.
If walking in the evening hours, try not to walk alone. Take a friend along.