There are loads of guidelines that govern how to drive safely, and abiding by them is important. But, did you know that guidelines also exist for pedestrians? They are designed to keep you safe while walking just about anywhere. Being familiar with them is helpful and may even prevent you from being struck by a motor vehicle while strolling or walking to work or school.
One guideline concerns which side of a street is best to walk on if there aren’t any sidewalks on your route. The National Center for Safe Routes to School advises walking on the side of the street where traffic is coming toward you.
Walkers and cyclists get the opposite guidance
People on bikes are generally told to ride their bicycles in the same direction as the traffic goes because bikes are another type of vehicle. For those on foot, however, the situation and the safety recommendations are different.
If you are walking in the same direction as cars and trucks are traveling, you will not be aware of any imminent dangers until they are upon you. A vehicle may be about to veer off the road onto the shoulder exactly where you are, for example. You would only be able to hear the sound of something coming but not view it.
If you can see something dangerous is about to happen, though, you can protect yourself. Hunker down in a ditch if there is one near you or rush quickly away from the traffic flow.
There is an exception to keep in mind
You may not always be walking on a straight, flat road. If there is a bend in the road or a steep hill, motorists might not spot you. To avoid that hazard, temporarily walk with the flow of traffic.
Vehicles and pedestrians have to respect each other. Sadly, even this does not always prevent accidents. Drivers can be blinded by solar glare, go too fast, be under the influence, get distracted or experience a medical emergency. If you are hurt by a vehicle while walking, look into your options for compensation for your injuries.