It seems like we are regularly inundated with messages about the positive effects of walking. While we know it is good for our health (and, in turn, good for the environment), before we head out for a stroll across campus, a walk to the parking garage, a power walk, or to run an errand, there are important safety tips to remember. As a pedestrian, our eyes and ears are our best tools for keeping safe. It is paramount that we stay alert; the question is how do we do that successfully?
Walk in Safe Places
- When walking on a sidewalk, walk in the middle of the sidewalk and walk facing oncoming traffic.
- Stay on sidewalks whenever possible.
- If a sidewalk is not available, walk on the far side of the road facing traffic. This will help increase your visibility to drivers.
- Use crosswalks when crossing the street. If a crosswalk is unavailable, be sure to find the most well lit spot on the road to cross and wait for a long enough gap in traffic to make it safely across the street.
- Avoid walking alone whenever possible.
- Never hitchhike. It is not worth the risk.
- Stay in well-lit areas, especially when crossing the street.
- Increase your visibility at night by carrying a flashlight and wearing retro-reflective clothing.
- If possible, make eye contact with drivers in stopped vehicles to ensure they see you before you cross in front of them. Never assume a driver will give you the right of way.
- Make every effort to make eye contact with the driver of a stopped or approaching vehicle before entering the roadway.
- If followed or threatened by someone who is walking, use a whistle, personal alarm, or scream loudly, cross the street and run in the opposite direction.
- If you carry a purse, carry it close to your body, preferably in front. If It has a shoulder strap, wear it over your head and across your chest or abdomen so no one can grab it off of your shoulder.
Stay Alert—Avoid Distractions
- Avoid distractions, such as using electronic devices (especially phones) that take your attention off the road.
- Do not wear headphones as they prohibit you from hearing what is going on around you.
- Never wear expensive jewelry or carry large amounts of cash when walking.
- Do not carry money or credit cards other than what you absolutely need.
- Keep a record of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home. Option: Make a photocopy of all your cards and file the information safely in your home file cabinet or on a computer.
- When walking, try not to overload yourself with packages or other items. Keep your hands as free as possible and your visibility unobstructed.
Follow the Rules
- Know and follow all traffic rules, signs and signals.
- Press the pedestrian signal button and wait for the walk signal when crossing the street.
- Always stop at the curb and look left, right, and left before crossing a street.
- Be conscious and yield to cars turning into or leaving driveways.
- Key rules to observe when walking: motorists are not required to stop for pedestrians who are crossing the street when the walker is not within a crosswalk. The walker must yield the right of way to a vehicle if crossing the road at a place other than in a marked crosswalk.
Avoid Alcohol Consumption
- Almost half of all traffic crashes resulting in pedestrian casualties involve alcohol consumption. Surprisingly, 34 percent of that total was on the part of the pedestrian. Alcohol impairs your decision-making skills, physical reflexes and other abilities just as much on your feet as it does behind the wheel.
To arrange a police van escort or walking escort, call 6-6882 on a campus telephone or 410-706-6882 (off-campus) and a uniformed officer will be sent to your location. Riders are required to have either a UMB or UMMC ID. For more information, visit UMB Escort Services.