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How To Be A Safe Pedestrian In Phoenix

As a pedestrian in Phoenix, it can be easy to assume that you always have the right-of-way, and that drivers must yield to you. After all, drivers are in the power seats – they could cause you much more harm than you could cause them. Yet pedestrians do not automatically have the right to cross the street in Arizona cities, even at marked crosswalks. They have duties, just like motorists, to obey traffic control signals and laws. Learning how to be a safe pedestrian can significantly lower your chances of being in a harmful collision.

Be Visible

Visibility is key when avoiding pedestrian-vehicle collisions. Pedestrians can be difficult to spot, especially at night. If you prefer to walk around Arizona instead of bike or drive, make yourself as visible as possible to motorists. Wear bright colors during the day, and a reflective vest or lights at night. Enter crosswalks slowly, making sure approaching traffic sees you. Make eye contact with drivers if possible so that they know you’re walking and you know they’re stopping. Carry a flashlight to walk along poorly lit stretches of road or sidewalk. The better drivers can see you, the better your chances of preventing a collision.

Be Predictable

In 2015, one pedestrian died every 1.6 hours in the U.S. Many pedestrian collisions occur because the person walking breaks a rule of the road. The most common factors in pedestrian collisions were alcohol use, speeding vehicles, and crossing at non-intersection locations. Crossing the road without a crosswalk or intersection (jaywalking), stepping out into the roadway without the right of way, jumping out from between parked cars, or trying to cross traffic without enough time for vehicles to stop, can all lead to serious injuries or death. Be predictable to drivers around you by obeying all of Arizona’s roadway rules.

Be Smart

Do everything you can to protect yourself as a vulnerable road user. This means walking smart and always being on the lookout for potential hazards. Your safety is up to you, and no one else. You cannot control what the road users around you do, but you are in charge of how you handle your own safety. Follow these tips for safe walking around Arizona:

  • Don’t look at your phone while walking.
  • Listen to music using only one headphone to hear your surroundings.
  • Look both ways before crossing, even if you have the right-of-way.
  • Always walk on sidewalks and crosswalks when available.
  • If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left-hand side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
  • Don’t walk while intoxicated.
  • Wait for a crossing signal to say, “Walk” before leaving the sidewalk.

When in doubt, play it safe. If you aren’t sure if a vehicle is going to see you and stop, don’t cross. Wait for all cars to come to complete stops at an intersection or crosswalk before crossing. Avoid areas where there is heavy motor traffic or a high number of pedestrian collisions. Avoid walking at night, or wear reflective clothing if you can’t wait until daytime. Being a safe pedestrian means doing everything you can to prevent collisions with vehicles.


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