Distracted driving is an issue that has been brought to light in recent years because of the digital age that we live in. We are making great strides towards safer roads by enforcing texting and driving laws, but should we be talking more about distracted pedestrians?
Auburn’s spacious sidewalks and plentiful crosswalks help to make the city more walkable for its residents. Walking is a health-conscious and environmentally friendly method of travel; however, like driving, distractions put pedestrians at risk. Pedestrians play a larger role in road safety than they may realize, and it’s important to take distracted walking as seriously as distracted driving. There are several things you can do to become a more responsible pedestrian:
- Focus forward, not down. Looking at a cellular device while walking is an accident waiting to happen. If it can’t be avoided, move out of the way of others and stop on the sidewalk to send a text message or make a phone call.
- Don’t wear headphones. Pedestrians should be aware of their surroundings at all times, and loud music can block out cars and other people approaching from behind.
- Make eye contact with drivers before stepping into a crosswalk. Intentional eye contact facilitates mutual understanding between the pedestrian and the driver.
Before you hit the pavement, make sure to review the laws in your state and city to learn the rights of both pedestrians and drivers in your area. Being informed is a great way to prepare and be aware when you’re traveling on foot. If you must walk on the street instead of a sidewalk, always walk on the side of the street to where you are facing oncoming traffic. In North America, this means walking on the left side of the street. Additionally, walking in a single-file line allows other runners, cyclists and walkers to pass if needed and gives extra space for vehicles to avoid you on the road. It’s also important to be visible to drivers at all times—always wear bright colors, and at night, add a reflective vest to your walking attire. Check out some more practical tips for pedestrians.
When both drivers and pedestrians do their part to eliminate distractions, the road becomes a much safer place. Take a walk and enjoy Auburn by foot this fall, and remember these tips to be a smart pedestrian. Check out our video for more Focus Forward tips.