As more and more people recognize how healthy it is for your body and for the environment to walk as much as possible, pedestrian safety becomes increasingly important. No matter what time of the day it is or how far you are going, there are certain aspects of being a safe pedestrian that you should definitely pay attention to. Of course, specific types of environments come with their own sets of safety steps — walking at night, for instance.

The fact of the matter is that pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users, and, therefore, need to be extra cautious — just in case drivers, bikers, and other road users are not always at their best. Remember, your safety depends a lot on the other users of the road, so do as much as you can do to take back the responsibility for your own safety to make things better for you and your family.

The Facts

Some people roll their eyes when they hear about pedestrian safety. You can’t deny the facts, however. Every 24-hour period of time, 445 people will go to the emergency room for injuries directly related to traffic and pedestrian injuries. Every two hours, someone dies from being the pedestrian in a traffic accident.

In 2012 alone, nearly 5,000 pedestrians were killed due to traffic accidents, and about 76,000 sustained injuries. While these accidents can (and do) affect everyone, female pedestrians are less likely to be hurt or killed in a car crash than males. The most at-risk demographic is between the ages of 15 and 29 years old. The chances of dying from a pedestrian accident, however, increase along with age.

A large percentage of these accidents have to do with drunk driving (driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher). In 2012, 34% of pedestrian deaths that resulted from a traffic accident were due to drunk driving.

In general, children pedestrians are particularly vulnerable to traffic accidents because they have less experience with traffic and road laws, are unable to judge speed and distance as well as adults, and are small and sometimes hard to see. About 25% of all traffic deaths that involved children below the age of 15 were pedestrian deaths.

Staying Safe

Once you know the facts, it’s easy to remember why taking safety precautions as a pedestrian are crucial. There are some common sense tips to remember, such as using crosswalks or pedestrian-friendly intersections whenever possible. If you are walking at night, it is extremely important that you wear something reflective and carry a light of some sort; a flashlight will easily do the trick. Additionally, use the sidewalk or, if it’s not available, walk on the shoulder of the side that faces oncoming traffic.

Regarding children, there are many other tips and pieces of advice that responsible parents should pay attention to. Especially if your children live in a high-traffic area, this is important information for their well-being.