Safe Walking-Rules of the Road
To stay safe walking, follow these rules of the road:
- Walk Facing Traffic: If there is no sidewalk and you must walk on the side of the road, choose the side where you are facing oncoming traffic. This gives you the best chance to see traffic approaching closest to you and take evasive action when needed.
- Be Visible: Wear bright colors when walking in daytime. When walking at night, wear light-colored clothing and reflective clothing or a reflective vest. Drivers are often not expecting walkers to be out after dark, and you need to give them every chance to see you. Be just as cautious at dawn or twilight, as drivers still have limited visibility or may even have the setting or rising sun directly in their eyes.
- Walk Single File: Unless you are on a sidewalk separated from the road you should walk in single file. This is especially important on a road with lots of curves, where traffic has only a split second chance of seeing you before hitting you. While it can be enjoyable to walk down the road two to three abreast chatting merrily, drivers don't expect it.
- Cross Safely: At controlled intersections, it is wise to cross only when you have the pedestrian crossing light, but even then, drivers and bikers may have a green light to turn and won't be expecting you to be in the crosswalk. Make eye contact with any drivers who may be turning. Make sure they see you.
- Be Predictable: Make a practice of staying on one side of the path while walking rather than weaving randomly from side to side.
- Keep the Volume Down: Don't drown out your environment with your iPod. Keep the volume at a level where you can still hear your surroundings.
- Hang Up and Walk: Chatting on a cell phone or texting while you walk is as dangerous as chatting while driving. You are distracted and not as aware of your environment. You are less likely to recognize traffic danger.
- Stay Aware of Bikes and Runners: Share the road and path with bikes and runners. Bike riders should alert you when approaching from behind with a bike bell or a "passing on the left/right." Listen for them, and move to walk single file, allowing them to pass safely. Runners should also call out for passing. Bike-walker collisions can result in broken bones or head injury for either — and you aren't wearing a helmet.
- Walking Children: Be aware that children can run into the travel lane, hold their hand.
- Walk Dogs on Short Leashes: Keep your pet and yourself safe by learning proper leash walking.
- Know When to Stop Walking: Heat sickness, dehydration, heart attack or stroke can strike walkers of any age.
- Be Aware of Stranger Danger: Choose your walking route for paths frequented by other walkers, joggers and bikers. If you see someone suspicious, be prepared to alter your course or go in to a store or public building to avoid them.
An operator of a motor vehicle should consider the following in regards to pedestrians.
Perception / Reaction time is defined as the time it takes for a person to perceive and react to a hazard or stimulus. The average perception/reaction time for an adult in the daytime with no other factors (i.e. alcohol, fatigue, sun glare or illness) is 1.6 seconds. During the nighttime hours, the average perception/reaction time increases to 2.5 seconds. Therefore if a vehicle is traveling at a constant speed of 30 MPH, with no acceleration or deceleration, during the daytime, from the point the operator perceives the hazard the vehicle travels an additional 70 feet before the operator will react to the hazard. If a vehicle is traveling 40 MPH, the vehicle will travel 94 feet before the operator reacts.
During nighttime hours, if a vehicle is traveling at a constant speed of 30 MPH, with no acceleration or deceleration, from the point the operator perceives the hazard the vehicle travels an additional 110 feet before the operator reacts to the hazard. If a vehicle is traveling 40 MPH, the vehicle will travel 147 feet before the operator reacts.
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