How Can I Protect Myself From Car Accidents as a Pedestrian?

Essential Safety Tips to Remember as a Pedestrian

Nobody wants to get hit by a car, and we all try to stay safe on the road while driving, but there are specific rules governing pedestrians on the street. Following those rules can be the difference between life and death

Stay out of the road – use the sidewalk.

This is basic. If you are a pedestrian, you must use the sidewalk. Utah Code Ann. § 41-6a-1009(1) states that if there is a sidewalk, and you can access it, you must stay out of the adjacent roadway. There is no distinction between running and walking. If you are a runner, you are still required to use the sidewalk even if you prefer running on asphalt.

If there is no sidewalk you can walk or run on the road – on the left.

The safest place for a pedestrian beside the sidewalk is the left edge of the roadway facing traffic. The law requires this of pedestrians as well. Utah Code Ann. § 41-6a-1009(2-3) states that pedestrians can walk on the shoulder of the road. If there is no shoulder the pedestrian must “walk as near as practicable to the outside edge of the roadway and . . . walk only on the left.”

Make yourself visible.

You may be walking or running in the correct place, but you are still in danger if drivers cannot see you. Although motorists are required to keep a lookout for pedestrians, there are a lot of other things on the road including oncoming traffic. Pedestrians have a burden to make themselves visible. Wear bright colors or reflective articles of clothing that draw attention to you.

Do not assume motorists can see you just because you can see them. It is recommended that pedestrians make eye contact with drivers when pedestrians need the drivers to stop so they can cross a street. It is also recommended that walkers and runners keep alert for danger. Electronic devices like a smartphone or an iPod can distract pedestrians from noticing potential dangers.

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