Before planning a family walk, make sure you and your loved ones follow these pedestrian practices.
Avoid Distracted Walking
When walking with your family, avoid looking at your phone or other hand-held electronics. Distracted walking can be just as dangerous as distracted driving. In fact, it’s been reported in a State Farm Canada survey that 4 out of 10 Canadians admit to distracted walking and 40 per cent of survey respondents admit to texting while walking. To help prevent this, you can leave your phone in your pocket or purse and be cautious of your surroundings.
Crossing the Road
It’s important to teach children how to cross the road safely. Teach them to look both ways and listen for cars before crossing. This step should still be done even if there is a traffic signal notifying them it’s safe to cross or a crossing guard guiding them. If your children are young, hold their hands when you cross the road. Making eye contact with drivers before crossing is also another smart pedestrian practice. Only cross when cars have come to a complete stop.
Ideally, pedestrians should walk on sidewalks. If you are walking on a street that doesn’t have sidewalks, stay on the left side of the road and face oncoming traffic. This way you will be able to see and locate approaching vehicles.
Be Prepared to Share
While cars are a primary concern, walkers should also be aware of cyclists and joggers and be prepared to share roads and sidewalks with them. Most cyclists will ring a bike bell when they want to pass you, so it’s important to have your ears free of any headphones to pay attention and allow them to pass you safely. It’s also a good idea to listen for any joggers as well. If you see them approaching, be sure to provide enough room for them to pass by.
Set an Example
Act as a role model and help set a good example of pedestrian safety for children. Your guidance and expertise can help educate them on street safety and decrease the risk of a possible injury. Teach them to be aware of their surroundings when walking and to limit distracting walking habits, especially when crossing.