Dangerous roads, hazardous weather conditions, poor visibility and reckless drivers are just some of the problems those who walk regularly have to face on a daily basis.
This post aims to provide information on how to stay safe on the roads. The information I’m sure you’ve heard before at some stage but if not it will be a helpful guide and hopefully make you aware of the dangers out there.
Visibility on the roads
Wear bright colours when walking in the day time, more importantly avoid dark greens and greys – blending in with the road. On a hot day refraction may occur when a road appears blurred, making it hard for drivers to distinguish you from the surroundings especially those with questionable vision.
At night wear reflective clothing; reflective armbands or vest are best but there are everything from head bans to shoe patches available. Many drivers assume people don’t walk at night so take care and make the investment. Twilight is possibly the most dangerous time to walk as drivers have limited or have the setting sun in their line of sight. As a rule of thumb wear reflective clothing from an hour before sunset until an hour after sunrise.
Stay focused, be predictable
As childish as it sounds always look both ways before crossing. At pedestrian crossings wait for the light to go green but still cross with caution, a good tip is look either side and keep eye contact with oncoming traffic. Also be aware of what each road sign stands for, it may save you from a very bad accident.
When walking with friends walk in single file especially on roads that are busy, with turns or bad bands. While it’s enjoyable to walk two or three a breast and having a chat, drivers don’t expect this and it only takes a split second to lose a best friend.
Always stay on the right side of the road
- Always stay on the right side of the road – facing traffic. Don’t make a habit of popping from one side to the next letting traffic flow dictate your position on the road.
- Be aware of your environment – keep an ear open at all times, while it’s relaxing to listen to your iPod keep your wits about you. Keep your volume at an appropriate level where you can still hear cars beeping, and warning from passers-by.
- The mobile phone has become one of the biggest hazards for walkers, think of it like you’re driving; using one really affects your concentration on the road. It makes you more prone to getting in an accident or causing one.
Know your limits and be aware of dangers
- If you’re an avid walker it’s a good idea to brush up on your medical skills, and learn the symptoms of common illnesses that may affect you on the road; dehydration, stroke, sunstroke, heat illness. It’s a good idea to learn basic procedures to deal with illnesses and what steps you should follow, if not for yourself to help a fellow passer-by.
- If you’re going on a long walk or hike make sure you pack accordingly with regards food, vitamins and minerals. Expect the unexpected i.e. bring more than an adequate amount of each.
- It may sound silly but choose your walking routes carefully and choose popular routes especially if walking on your own or for fitness purposes. If you see someone suspicious always have an escape route planed – this may be anything from bringing your dog with you to a personal body alarm.
I hope this has helped you in some way and made you aware of the dangers out there. Staying safe should be the number one priority in everything you do, what makes walking any different.