Most of us are pedestrians at some point in our day, whether walking to your vehicle, walking to the train for your commute, walking to school or walking because it is your primary form of transportation. What other form of transportation allows you to use your body and rely on nothing else to get to where you need to go?
Each day, pedestrians must worry whether drivers are paying attention to the road and those around them. Winter brings additional challenges for pedestrians, including cold weather, icy sidewalks, snowstorms and fewer hours of daylight.
If you are a pedestrian dealing with these elements, you know you cannot always control what a driver is doing. It's best to be on the defensive and use precautions to combat the winter weather. Here are some safety tips to help:
Just like black ice can form on roadways, ice can also be on sidewalks, driveways and parking lots. Black ice is transparent and allows the color of the underlying surface to show through. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to notice until you have stepped on it. Always be on the lookout, and always be aware of your elements and surroundings.
Take it Slow
If you do experience slippery conditions, take your time. Often referred to as the penguin walk, bend your knees slightly, take short steps, keep your hands and arms out to your sides for balance, shuffle your feet and walk slowly.
Distracted walking can be as dangerous as distracted driving. While it is good to have a phone with you in case of an emergency, it is best to keep your eyes off your phone while walking. As with driving, you may become distracted, bump into things or slip on ice if you don't pay attention.
Wear Proper Clothing
Before heading out in the winter months, it is best to check the weather so you can dress appropriately. In harsh weather, shoes with proper traction can prevent falls. In cold, it's best to wear gloves and not place your hands in your pockets while walking. If you fall suddenly, your hands can help catch you.
No Impaired Walking
Remember impaired walking can be dangerous. Be aware of the effects that prescription medicines can have on you. On days where you might find yourself impaired, it would be best to take public transportation or ask a sober friend for help in getting home.
Make Eye Contact with Drivers
Remember, the roads may be slippery for drivers in winter weather. Have eye contact with the driver and make sure vehicles come to a complete stop before you proceed to cross.
We hope these winter tips can help pedestrians to continue enjoying their commute during the colder months.