Going out and hitting the sidewalk or streets is great way to exercise. If you have a dog, you may not have any choice about going for daily walks. You might also walk to work during the summer or go for frequent runs training for that upcoming 5K.
Staying physically fit requires a commitment to routinely moving your body. For many people, walking, jogging or running will meet their daily quota of physical activity. However, all of the health benefits associated with exercise can’t eliminate the risks that come from being out on the roads as a pedestrian, jogger or runner.
Thankfully, there are few things you can do to make it less likely to get hurt by a motor vehicle.
Plan your route in low-speed areas
If you have any say about where you walk, jog or run, try to plan a route that prioritizes roads with lower speed limits. The faster vehicles travel near you, the greater your risk for catastrophic injury. Roads with speed limits of 35 miles an hour or lower will be substantially safer than roads where vehicles travel at higher speeds.
Don’t let distraction put you at risk
You can probably guess that distraction plays a role in many pedestrian crashes, but what you may not realize is that pedestrian distraction can be as dangerous as driver distraction. If you look down at your phone in your hands while waiting to cross the road, you might step out in front of a vehicle.
Choosing not to handle your phone or otherwise get distracted while walking will keep you safer because you will notice the vehicles heading toward you before they get close enough to pose a threat.
Take steps to make yourself more visible
When drivers hurt pedestrians or cyclists, they often claim that they didn’t see the person before the crash. Drivers simply don’t watch as carefully as they should for cyclists, pedestrians and even motorcycles.
Visibility is crucial to your safety. Wearing bright colors and reflective gear can help during the daytime. If you go out in the evening or at night, illuminated gear that lights up and blinks can draw the eye and make sure that people spot you well before they get close to you on the road.
You can reduce your risk of getting hurt by a vehicle by prioritizing visibility and safety, but you can’t eliminate the threat that distracted and otherwise dangerous drivers cause for pedestrians on the road.