Back-to-school safety tips for pedestrians

When you are behind the wheel, or on two wheels, is not the only time to worry about your safety. Simply walking down the street on your way to campus, work or lunch can be dangerous and lead to getting into an accident with a vehicle. You can reduce the risk of injury by knowing contributing factors and how to avoid them.

These tips are just as essential for younger students as well. According to the CDC, pedestrians accounted for 20 percent of traffic fatalities for children below 15 years old in 2015. If you are a parent, review these safety standards with your children.

Use crosswalks

Crossing at intersections, and doing so when you have the right of way, is a significant way to lower your chances of a car striking you. It may be inconvenient, but an injury is even more so. Always look left, right and then left again, and make eye contact with drivers before crossing to ensure that they see you.

Put away the phone

Phones not only cause distractions for drivers but also for pedestrians. With your eyes on your phone, you cannot see potential hazards. Even calling someone or listening to music can prevent you from hearing danger and paying attention to your surroundings.

Do not drink

Like drivers, you also have the responsibility not to be intoxicated while traveling. The CDC reports that in pedestrian-vehicle accidents, pedestrians were two times more guilty than drivers of being the party with the high blood alcohol concentration. Intoxication affects your judgment, coordination and vision even with something as everyday as walking. 

Make yourself visible

When possible, walk with friends or stay near other groups of walkers. It is best not to walk at night, which is when most accidents happen. If you must, wear reflective clothing, stay in well-lit areas and use a flashlight. When there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.

Remember to follow these guidelines in all walking areas, not just intersections, because most accidents do not occur there. Be just as careful in parking lots, driveways and construction zones.