Regardless of the weather or time of year, walking outdoors is good for a person’s mental health as well as their physical health. However, making sure you have a good walk is about more than a comfortable pair of shoes. While drivers, including cyclists, must yield to pedestrian crosswalks, school crossings, and crossovers, pedestrians need to make sure they are being seen and are alert while walking.
Safety tips for pedestrians
- Don’t walk distracted – just as you shouldn’t text and drive, you should not text and walk. Keep your head up and be aware of your surroundings.
- If you’re wearing headphones, make sure the volume is low so you can hear what is happening around you.
- If you’re walking at dusk or dawn or on a dreary day, wear reflective clothing so you are visible to motorists.
- Walk on the sidewalk or on the side of the road where applicable.
- Don’t cross a street in between parked cars, cross at designated areas.
- Never assume drivers see you. Look both ways and use crosswalks and pedestrian lights whenever possible. If you can, make eye contact with a driver before crossing the road.
- Make sure all traffic is at a complete stop before crossing a road.
- Always be on the lookout for vehicles turning at intersections and backing out of driveways.
Teaching young kids pedestrian safety
As some of the most vulnerable road users, now is a great time to teach children pedestrian safety. By giving them pedestrian safety skills when they are young, they will become safe and independent road users now and in the future. Children need adults to model safe pedestrian habits and to support them in practicing them.
When teaching children how to be safe pedestrians, remember to speak in age-appropriate language and show kids:
- The best places to walk in your neighbourhood. Show them streets with sidewalks, and if applicable, where to walk on streets that do not have sidewalks.
- Show them speed limit and other traffic signs and lights and teach them what they mean for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
- Explain why it is important to walk without distractions, such as iPods, mobile phones, etc.
- Show them how to safely cross a road and where to cross a road.
Road safety is a shared responsibility, regardless of how you use the road. Our friends, family, children, and colleagues are impacted several times daily by road safety. When tragedy strikes, too often we feel powerless in terms of making an impact to prevent further issues. If you would like to get more involved in road safety, we invite you to take the #RoadSMARTS pledge. By taking the Road SMARTS Pledge, you Support Making All Road Travel Safe, which can help improve road safety for everyone. When road behaviours change, accidents can be reduced. For more information and to take the pledge for free, visit https://www.road-smarts.ca/