Walking is a healthy exercise that can begin at an early age. It requires a minimum investment: comfortable clothes and walking shoes. Parents can start children in the habit of daily walking at an early age, especially if they reside near schools, parks or shopping centers. Regular walking can help prevent childhood obesity. And, as an adult, one can walk to reduce weight and the risk of developing diabetes.
Unfortunately, children as well as pedestrians of all age groups, put their lives at risk whenever they are out and about. Motorists might not see them, drive recklessly, or be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Statistics bear out these risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported traffic crashes killed 4,280 pedestrians and injured another 70,000 pedestrians in the United States in 2010.
You might feel more at risk if you walk along a street that lacks sidewalks. However, you are also at risk in walker-friendly big cities such as metropolitan areas of New York. Motorists have struck and killed pedestrians walking on sidewalks. You can take a lot of steps to reduce the likelihood that you and your family members will be struck by a car while walking. Some of the rules are common sense ones that we learned in school, such as:
- If the street lacks sidewalks, walk on the side against traffic so you can see oncoming vehicles.
- Whenever possible, cross a street at a designated crosswalk at the appropriate times.
- If you are walking at night, increase your visibility by carrying a flashlight and wearing retro-reflective clothing. Take every precaution to ensure you are visible in the darkness.
Despite our measures toward safety, however, many of us will be struck by a moving vehicle, or killed. The aftermath of a car vs. pedestrian accident can take years from which to recover, particularly if there accident involved a distracted or impaired driver, or resulted in hit-and-run. If you or a loved one is struck by a motorist, call 911 if you have access to a cell phone and are able to do so. Be sure you cooperate fully with authorities investigating the accident so they can obtain the best and most accurate information possible. Lastly, assert your rights by consulting a personal injury attorney who can best help you with your case.