Did you know that in 2021, there were approximately 7,388 pedestrian fatalities, a 13% increase from the previous year, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)? Additionally, NHTSA revealed that over 60,000 pedestrians sustained an injury that same year.

Whether you’re walking alone, in groups, or with a stroller, remember that you’re at risk while traveling by foot.

10 Walking Safety Tips

Below, we’ve compiled 10 essential walking safety tips to practice and share with your loved ones.

  1. Always use marked crosswalks or intersections when crossing the street.
  2. Obey traffic signals and signs, such as traffic lights and pedestrian crossing signals.
  3. Look both ways before crossing the street, even if you have the right of way.
  4. Avoid distractions such as texting or talking on the phone while walking.
  5. Wear bright or reflective clothing to increase visibility, especially at night.
  6. Walk on sidewalks or designated walking paths whenever possible.
  7. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far to the side of the road as possible.
  8. Be aware of your surroundings and stay alert for potential hazards.
  9. Avoid walking while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  10. Teach children about pedestrian safety and supervise them when crossing the street.

Even if you follow traffic signals and are cautious, it’s essential to maintain a defensive mindset and be aware of your surroundings—as you would if you were driving.

Here are a few more walking safety tips and frequently asked questions about pedestrian rights. If you have questions or need help filling a claim for a personal injury, please contact our attorneys.

Get in Touch

Walking Against Traffic: What To Do

If you’re walking against traffic with no sidewalk, walk as far to the left of the road as possible, facing oncoming traffic. Doing so will allow you to see any approaching vehicles and move out of the way if necessary.

Staying aware of your surroundings and being alert while walking on the road is always important. It’s best to use designated pedestrian pathways or sidewalks to ensure the highest level of safety.

How to Cross the Street

You always want to use crosswalks to cross the street. Be sure to wait for the “walk” signal to appear and only begin crossing when it is safe to do so. This means looking both ways before stepping off the curb and continuing to look both ways while crossing. Don’t assume that a driver will stop because you’ve already started walking. Remember to maintain that defensive mindset.

Be sure to also avoid distractions such as using your phone or listening to loud music while crossing the street.

What Happens If I or Someone I Know Gets Injured?

If someone driving a car hits you or a friend while crossing the road, there are both civil and criminal consequences.

  • The criminal penalties are more severe if the pedestrian is seriously injured or killed.
  • Recent changes to the law help address this issue, including special provisions for reckless driving resulting in death or great bodily harm.
  • This can be charged under a different statute called criminal vehicular operation, which is a gross misdemeanor-level offense with criminal penalties.

How Does Minnesota Determine Criminal Punishment?

The state has to prove that there was a conscious disregard for safety. However, if a driver ignores flashing lights and blows through them, it’s likely that they have reached that level—as this kind of behavior is more than just negligence. Therefore, drivers must slow down, especially in areas where pedestrians might be crossing. Even if the pedestrians are not paying attention, it is still the driver’s responsibility to ensure that they are safe.

Drivers are operating a vehicle that can potentially harm somebody, and therefore, they need to be vigilant.

Do I Need an Attorney?

At Meshbesher & Spence, our personal injury attorneys can help pedestrians who were injured by a driver in a number of ways.

  1. Our team can investigate the accident and gather evidence to build a strong case against the driver. This may include obtaining witness statements, reviewing police reports, and collecting any available video footage of the accident.
  2. We can help you or a loved one navigate the legal process and deal with insurance companies. Additionally, we can negotiate with the driver’s insurance company to ensure that the you receive fair compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and any other damages.
  3. A personal injury attorney from Meshbesher & Spence can represent you in court if necessary. We can argue the case before a judge or jury and work to secure a favorable outcome for you and your loved ones.

For questions on walking safety and pedestrian rights, contact us today! If you’d like to file a claim, your consultation is always free.