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Should You Walk Facing Toward or Away from Traffic as a Pedestrian?

Originally published July 8, 2021. Updated September 21, 2023.

Navigating bustling city streets on foot can be both liberating and, at times, perilous. As pedestrians, the only barriers between us and fast-moving vehicles are some basic traffic rules and our own awareness. Pedestrian accidents often result in severe injuries, making it imperative to arm oneself with the knowledge of best practices when stepping out on the streets.

At Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers, we not only represent those who have fallen victim to reckless drivers but also want to help educate the community on preventive measures. Here’s a primer on ensuring your safety as a pedestrian, including what side of the street to walk on to be most visible to approaching drivers.

Essential Pedestrian Safety Tips

Navigating streets as a pedestrian requires a blend of vigilance and knowledge. While traffic laws exist to protect everyone, pedestrians often have the most to lose in the event of a collision. Here are some measures you can take to minimize your risk, especially from drivers who may not see you:

  • Use Sidewalks: Always walk on sidewalks when they’re available. If they’re not, put as much distance between yourself and the road as possible when walking on the shoulder.
  • Cross Wisely: Cross the street at designated crosswalks and only when you get a “walk” signal. Also try to make eye contact with any approaching or stopped drivers before crossing to ensure they see you. Remember, jaywalking isn’t just illegal—it’s extremely dangerous.
  • Face Oncoming Traffic: Walk facing TOWARDS oncoming traffic. When drivers can see your face, they’re more likely to notice you and less likely to drift towards you, whether you’re on a sidewalk or the shoulder of the road. Plus, walking towards oncoming vehicles gives you more time to notice and react if a driver loses control.

Additional Safety Precautions

To enhance your safety further as a pedestrian, consider the following:

  • Stay Alert: Avoid distractions while walking, ensuring you can see and hear traffic nearby.
  • Wear Visible Clothing: Bright and reflective clothing is best, especially when walking at night or during low visibility conditions like rain.
  • Opt for Safer Routes: Stick to well-lit paths and residential areas with lower speed limits.
  • Avoid Prohibited Areas: Avoid from walking on busy highways and interstates, particularly where pedestrian movement is restricted or illegal.

Injured? Bank on Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers

At Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers, our Appleton pedestrian accident lawyers know the risks that people face when they get around town on foot. Motorcyclists and bicyclists also face elevated risks because of their smaller size when compared to a car, truck, or SUV, but pedestrians often face the highest risks of all. That’s because pedestrians are difficult to see, especially when drivers aren’t expecting them.

If you or someone you love is ever hurt while traveling on foot, know that you have a legal advocate waiting to help. Contact our firm today for a free consultation.

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