Pedestrians Should Share the Road Safely

Pedestrians are at a major disadvantage when it comes to going up against a large, heavy vehicle. Chances are, should a collision occur, the vehicle will win. That is why pedestrians should be on guard when sharing the road.

There are many laws that indicate that drivers should yield to pedestrians. However, such laws aren't always heeded. Pedestrians should always be on guard because it can be difficult for drivers to see a person on the side of the road, crossing an intersection, or traversing the streets.

* Use sidewalks. Whenever possible, walk on sidewalks; that's what they were built for, anyway. It is always safer to walk on a sidewalk than in the roadway.

* Use caution at corners. Trucks make wide turns and sometimes run up on the curb. Keep a safe distance from the street when waiting at a corner to cross.

* Follow crossing signals. Use lights and crossing signals as guides for when it is safe to cross the roadway. However, also use common sense and double-check that the intersection is safe before stepping off the curb.

* Cross in front of vehicles. All vehicles have blind spots, and trucks offer poorer visibility than smaller cars. It is up to the pedestrian to keep away from blind spots and make himself or herself seen at all times. The safest way to do this is to cross in front of vehicles instead of behind.

* Use caution at intersections. Pedestrians may assume an approaching car or truck can see them crossing at an intersection. However, sun glare, rain or other weather can impair vision. Pedestrians should safely assume they cannot be seen and make sure all vehicles come to a complete stop before crossing.

* Brighten up at night: When walking at night or at dusk/dawn, always wear bright, reflective clothing. Carry a flashlight for even more visibility.

* Walk against traffic. If there are no sidewalks available, pedestrians should walk on the side of the road that puts them facing traffic. This way the walker can move out of the way and see oncoming traffic.