General walking safety tips
Always do the following
- Help drivers to see you. Stand clear of buses, hedges, parked cars, and other obstacles before crossing a street.
- Cross in well lit areas at night. Otherwise, wear brightly colored clothing or reflective materials.
- Tip: Carrying a flashlight at night, or using your cell phone flashlight, can make you more visible to drivers.
- Watch out for vehicles which are backing up in parking lots, driveways, or on the street.
- Walk on the sidewalk.
- Walk facing vehicles when:
- There is no sidewalk on either side of the street
- The sidewalk is inaccessible
- Look for backup lights and listen for vehicle noise.
Do not do the following
- Walk after consuming alcohol or other drugs.
- Drunk walking increases your chances of being struck.
- Use cell phones or headphones when you are crossing a street. Keep distractions to a minimum.
- Never run into the street. Proceed carefully when crossing.
Walking safety laws
Obey "Walk/Don’t Walk" signals
Pedestrian may only enter a signalized intersection when the "Walk" signal is shown. They may not enter a crosswalk with a flashing or steady "Don’t Walk" signal.
Do not enter the crosswalk if approaching vehicles cannot stop
Motorists must stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. On the other hand, pedestrians may not enter a crosswalk if it's impossible for a driver to stop. The word "crosswalk" applies to both marked and unmarked areas where pedestrians can gain the right-of-way.
Street crossing safety tips
Look both ways before crossing
Before crossing a street, scan in all directions. Look left, right, and then left again. Check for vehicles entering the roadway from a nearby intersections or a driveway.
Crossing streets at marked or unmarked crosswalks
Marked crosswalks have
- Pavement markings
- Pedestrian warning signs, and/or
- Flashing lights
An unmarked crosswalk is any intersection where crosswalks are not marked.
If you choose to cross mid-block, you must yield to vehicles. This is, if it's an unmarked crossing. Mid-block crossings are illegal if there are traffic signals at both ends of the block.
Pay attention to drivers
When you're ready to cross a street
- Make eye contact with vehicle drivers (if possible)
- Pay attention to vehicle speed and noise
- Always be prepared for a motorist who fails to yield the right-of-way
The law does not make motorists stop for a pedestrian waiting to enter a crosswalk.
If a motorist does stop:
Proceed cautiously to determine if other approaching vehicles are following suit.
If you're uncomfortable crossing while motorists are present
As an alternative, you can wave a stopped motorist on.
Watch for hidden vehicles
Look carefully for vehicles emerging from alleys and driveways. It's illegal for motorists to emerge without stopping before the sidewalk. Still, always be prepared for a vehicle which does not stop.