This article is sponsored by the District Department of Transportation
Studies show that walking for as little as 20 minutes a day helps with weight loss, strengthens your heart, increases your energy and boosts your mood, just to name a few benefits. Whether you wake up a bit earlier, go during your lunch break at work, or go in the evening, taking a brief walk can help change many aspects of your life. It’s an easy way to improve your overall health, but make sure you are doing it safely.
The District is a great place to be active, especially in the Summer, but it’s important to make sure you obey the rules of the road. Pedestrians should be mindful of using crosswalks and waiting for the walk. If a crosswalk is unavailable, find the most well-lit spot on the road to cross and make sure there is long enough gap in traffic to make it across the street safely. It’s also important to stay on sidewalks whenever possible. Pedestrians need to know and follow all traffic rules, signs and signals.
In addition to following the rules of the road, pedestrians must also be mindful of distractions. As a pedestrian, your eyes and ears are your best tools for staying safe. Be sure to put down your phone. Talking on the phone or texting take your eyes off of the road and distract you from staying alert. Stay alert, watch out and enjoy your walk in DC.
Safety is shared a responsibility. Drivers also need to stay alert and keep their eyes open for pedestrians. Make sure to slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or approaching a crosswalk. Drivers must always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop several feet from the crosswalk to make sure other cars can see crossing pedestrians.
Additionally, drivers should be more attentive when driving in difficult-to-see conditions, especially at night or in bad weather. Pedestrians dressed in dark colored clothing can be very hard to see in these conditions.
A good rule of thumb is to look well ahead, especially in urban areas, and move your eyes from sidewalk to sidewalk to make sure that you are able to see any pedestrians getting ready to cross the street.
Keep in mind the speed limit, especially around highly populated areas. Follow slower speed limits in neighborhoods and near school zones, where children could be present. And make sure to avoid distractions while driving, especially your phone.