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Must-have safety tips for pedestrians

Unfortunately, you put yourself at risk every time you go for a walk in a place where there are motor vehicles. For instance, one pedestrian dies every two hours due to crash-related causes; children and older adults are particularly at risk. To keep yourself and your loved ones as safe as possible, review these tips.

Be visible

Visibility is critical, especially for children, who are short and may otherwise be overlooked. Reflective gear, lights and brightly colored clothing are three ways to accomplish this, particularly if you walk at night or in the early hours of the morning. Also, walking only in designated areas helps with visibility. For example, if you jaywalk or ignore the sidewalk, you could be walking or crossing the street in an area where drivers do not expect to see pedestrians.

Use sidewalks whenever you can. If a sidewalk is nonexistent, face traffic as you walk, and keep as far from cars as possible. Also, keep an eye out for obstructions such as bushes and parked cars. Never dart out from behind them to cross the road.

Stay alert

Alertness takes many forms. For adults and teens, it may mean staying off the cellphone, stowing the headphones while you walk and walking only when sober. For groups of youths, it means refraining from horseplay and keeping an eye on the road. It also entails paying attention to crosswalk signals and checking the road in both directions even after a walk signal has given the all clear.

In parking lots, watch and listen for idling vehicles, and be aware of people who just got into their cars and may be backing out very soon. Even paralysis and other terrible injuries can result from parking lot incidents.

Keep pets leashed

Pedestrians should always leash their dogs and other pets. Many animals are well behaved, but it only takes one unexpected noise for a dog to run off and for the pet's owner to forget basic safety rules as he or she gives chase.

Give yourself time

All pedestrians, but especially the elderly, benefit from the gift of extra time. Whether it's for a street crossing or for an entire trip, budgeting more time than you think you will need helps. For the elderly, canes or walking sticks can help with speed and stability for quicker and safer crossings.

Being in an accident is scary. If you have been injured as a pedestrian, getting in touch with an attorney may be a good idea so you are aware of your rights.

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