Walking is excellent exercise. It’s low impact, so you don’t put the same stress on your knees that you do when you run or jog. It’s also a way you can explore the neighborhood or any walking trails in public parks near to you.
One issue when you’re a consummate walker is traffic, though. Traffic can be dangerous, and the stats back that up. If you want to walk for exercise, there are some ways you can stay as safe as possible. Let’s go over some of them.
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Here are 5 Ways You Can Stay as Safe as Possible
Wear Bright-Colored Clothing
The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is an entity that collects data every year concerning car wrecks and pedestrian accidents. They report that back in 2010, traffic accidents injured 70,000 people. They also state that in this country, traffic kills one person about every eight minutes.
That’s scary to think about, and it’s enough to give you pause if you’re about to head out on the street for a brisk stroll before work. However, there’s a common-sense approach you can take that should help you avoid becoming a statistic.
You can wear bright-colored clothing when you go out on your walks each day. There are vests, shirts, pants, and windbreakers that companies make in bright colors to keep drivers from not noticing you when they pass by. Wearing a bright color can stay as safe as possible.
You can also get sneakers that have bright patches or decals on them. You might feel a little funny walking around and looking like a traffic cone, but it’s better to sacrifice fashion if it keeps a car from hitting you.
Don’t Go Walking at Night
You can also stay as safe by avoiding walking after the sun has gone down. Walking after dark might appeal to you at certain times of the year, especially if you’re in a part of the US that gets very hot in the summer. National average temperatures keep going up all around the country, and 100-plus degree days are not conducive to taking a stroll in daylight.
If you wait till the sun goes down and it gets cooler, though, that’s a time when drivers will not be able to see you as well. You might enjoy the cooler temperatures, but you’re making it easier for drivers not to notice you.
If you do decide to go out after dark, at least wear bright or reflective clothing, like we just discussed. At least then, if a car approaches, they should spot you in plenty of time and swerve out of the way if they’re heading in your direction.
Stay Away from Main Thoroughfares
In virtually any city or town, no matter how large or small, there are going to be some main thoroughfares, and then there will be side streets that see less traffic. It makes sense that if you go walking regularly, you’ll pick out some favorite routes that you enjoy taking.
You should pick walking routes where you avoid the busiest intersections and streets. If you live in a neighborhood where there is never a lot of traffic, that’s ideal.
Keep to the side streets where you know cars don’t drive very fast, and not that much traffic comes by. The chances are much higher than a vehicle will hit you if you decide to walk along beside a busy street where you have cars going by very fast at all hours of the day or night.
Don’t Walk on Streets Without Sidewalks
There are some streets that don’t have sidewalks, and you should try to avoid these whenever you can as well. Cities and townships create sidewalks as places where citizens can walk with no fear of passing traffic. If you try to walk along a street where there are no sidewalks, it’s inherently risky. Avoid this kind of walk to stay as safe.
You would hope that even where there are no sidewalks, drivers will know to watch out for pedestrians. The problem is that some drivers tend to automatically drive faster if they assume no one will be walking or cycling ahead of them.
If you walk along a street with no sidewalk, you’re risking one of these speed demons coming up behind you and not paying enough attention. Maybe one of them will allow their smartphone or the radio to distract them.
This is how tragedy happens. Avoid that scenario by steering clear of streets with no sidewalks, even if that means you have to limit your preferred routes each day.
Walk in Public Parks
You can also avoid public streets entirely and head into your nearest park. Maybe there are a couple of them close to you, and they might have some lovely woods through which you can stroll.
In a park, you can enjoy the seasons when they change. There is nothing better than walking along a trail when the autumn rolls around if you reside in a section of the country where the leaves change colors. You can enjoy the brisk weather and the amazing carpet of orange, red, and yellow leaves as they drift down and land along your path.
Just remember that if you are going to walk in the park, you should do so during daylight. Most cities close their parks after sundown since they don’t want anyone to walk along the trails in the dark. That’s a time when someone might mug you, or you might stumble and fall, injuring yourself.
If you don’t really live somewhere where you can walk around safely, because there are no sidewalks or because the traffic nearby is too fast and dangerous, you might drive to a park or some other neighborhood where it’s safer to walk around. You want to get your exercise, but you should also think of your family. They would be very upset if something happened to you one day when you went out for a stroll.
If you follow our advice, you should avoid pedestrian dangers, and you can stay as safe as possible.