Walking regularly can have long-term health benefits, and it’s a great way to get exercise. Walking is a free way to travel, and it is almost always available. To stay safe and healthy on the roads, pedestrians and motorists need to respect each other.
- Be predictable, follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
- Plan a route with safe crossings
- Avoid distractions, alcohol and drugs, and be alert
- Dress to be seen, but never assume drivers see you
- Wear reflective clothing, and carry a blinking light or flashlight at night
- Walk on sidewalks facing traffic
- If there’s no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible
- Watch for cars backing up, especially in parking lots and driveways
- Cross at crosswalks or intersections – where drivers expect pedestrians. While crossing, look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right, and make eye contact with turning drivers before proceeding when possible.
- Turning vehicles can be especially dangerous at intersections. If there is no crosswalk or intersection, go to a well-lit area with the best view of traffic, wait until there is enough time to cross safely, and continue to watch for traffic while crossing.
Parents and caregivers should remind vulnerable children and older adults to be safe as pedestrians. Young children are impulsive and active, and may need guidance when walking near roads. Older adults may need to be reminded to wait for a new walk signal or new green light before crossing at stoplights to give them ample time to cross.
To stay safe, pedestrians of all ages should work together with all road users, which means using crosswalks and obeying signs and signals. Motorists should slow down, especially in areas with high-pedestrian traffic.