We are at the end of National Road Victims Month, and the end of the summer holidays is just around the corner. The last thing you want, whilst enjoying the holidays, is to fall victim to a road traffic accident, so here are 5 tips for pedestrians, that you can follow to keep you and your children safe this summer.
1. Where possible, use designated pedestrian crossings.
To ensure safety avoid the compulsion to ‘J-walk’. Pedestrian crossings are there for your convenience, to give you the safest way possible to navigate your way around on foot. Walking is a great way to burn calories and has the benefit of being environmentally and economically efficient. If this is your preferred mode of transport, or even if you enjoy nice leisurely walks at weekends, you can minimise the risk of injury by using pedestrian crossings where possible.
2. Always be vigilant.
It is important to be aware of your surroundings, especially when attempting to cross a road. Remember to look both ways, and only cross when there is no traffic approaching from either direction.
Footpaths are made for pedestrians, so they should also be used where possible. However, if there is no footpath, walk on the right-hand side of the road, as close to the edge as you can, so that you can see any traffic which is approaching you head on from the opposite side of the road.
3. Stay visible.
For your own safety, and the safety of other road users, it is important that you are as visible as you can be. During daylight hours, staying visible isn’t usually much of an issue, but there are tips you can follow that will make traversing the road, safer for you and everyone else. For instance, don’t walk out behind tall parked vehicles, or don’t walk out behind parked buses. It is advisable to find more visible areas to cross the road, areas devoid of parked cars, or wait for the bus to pull away before crossing the road. Remember, if you can’t see them, they can’t see you.
Extra safety is required when walking at night. Avoid dark clothing when you are out walking at night, or wear something reflective to make you easily noticeable to any night-time drivers. If possible, carry a torch to alert others to your presence and avoid country roads, or any road without a footpath.
4. Avoid distractions.
It is easy to get engrossed in your mobile phone, whether it’s a social media post, or the latest news article, but to ensure maximum safety on the road it is important that you avoid such distractions so that you may focus on your surroundings. When it comes to crossing the road, try to focus solely on the traffic around and if something catches your eye, wait until you are safely on the footpath to observe it.
Another distraction that can present a problem for pedestrians is listening to music through headphones. It is advisable to remove the headphones when it comes to crossing the road. Ears can be as useful as eyes when being aware that a car is nearby. It shouldn’t need the sound of a car horn to alert you to its presence, if you are listening you will hear the car engine as well as being able to see it.
5. Avoid alcohol.
Alcohol has many effects on the body, some of which include blurry vision, slower reaction times, and impaired judgement. This doesn’t just affect people who get behind the wheel drunk, it also affects pedestrians and is just as likely to cause an accident as it would if the roles were reversed. If you have been out drinking with friends and generally having a good time, then the last thing you want is to be rushed to the emergency room after being involved in an accident on the road. The safest thing for you is to get a taxi or ask a sober friend to drive you home.
These tips will hopefully help you avoid becoming another pedestrian casualty. One in eight reported road casualties involve a pedestrian, and more shockingly a quarter of reported road users killed are pedestrians, so these tips are useful to follow to lower the risk of being involved in a pedestrian accident.
Unfortunately, however hard we try, not all accidents are avoidable. If you have been involved in a pedestrian accident that wasn’t your fault, Smith Jones Solicitors are here to help. We offer no win, no fee, confidential advice and can help you get the compensation you deserve. For further information or advice, call 0800 195 95 90 to talk to one of our experts today or click here to start a claim enquiry.
 Department for Transport, Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2014, 165 (Table RAS30034, Published 24 September 2015) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/467465/rrcgb-2014.pdf