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Keep yourself from becoming a statistic when you walk

Was one of your New Year's resolutions to get out and walk more? If so, you may find other San Antonio residents doing the same thing. Even though you may walk for the health benefits, it can also be an economical and environmentally sound form of transportation.

Your feet are certainly the cheapest form of transportation, but are they the safest way to get around? Statistics show that the number of pedestrian deaths skyrocketed in the last couple of years. In fact, the number of deaths rose an alarming 27 percent between 2007 and 2016.

What caused the increase?

No one knows exactly why, but some of the best and most common theories include those below:

  • The population of urban areas has increased, and so have the number of people walking in them.
  • The resurgence of the economy means more cars on the roads.
  • The roads are designed to get vehicles from point A to point B as quickly as possible -- often without safety considerations for pedestrians and bicycle riders.
  • The use of drugs and alcohol by drivers and pedestrians alike could also play a role in the increase.

Of course, distracted driving could prove a primary culprit. With so many people on their cell phones as they drive, their attention is definitely not on the task at hand. Even pedestrians use their cell phones as they walk, which causes a reduction in attention as well. Age may also play a factor. The odds of a vehicle striking an older American are astounding.

What you can do as a walker

You certainly contribute to your own safety as a pedestrian. You could take the following measures to help keep you from becoming a statistic:

  • You can alert drivers that you intend to cross the street by extending your hand. Even if they think you rude, at least they noticed you.
  • Try to make eye contact with drivers. This way, you know that they saw you.
  • Stay off your phone while you walk -- this includes listening to music or other media on your phone. This helps keep your attention on the road.
  • Make sure you face the traffic as you walk. This gives you a better view and more time to react, especially if you don't have access to a sidewalk on a particular stretch of road.
  • Don't rely on every vehicle to stop as you cross the street. Just because the vehicle closest to you stopped, that doesn't mean that the vehicle in the next lane will.
  • Reflective gear and a flashlight could save your life as you walk at night, which is when around 75 percent of pedestrian accidents occur.
  • Don't assume you are safe while walking through a parking lot.

Even if you follow these tips, you still have to put some trust in drivers. Sadly, that trust could be misplaced, and you could suffer serious injuries. Fortunately, you may be able to recover your financial losses through the filing of a personal injury claim.

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