Walking has always been a reliable source of transportation, but it’s no surprise that in today’s age we opt for the easier (faster) approach of travel. Although vehicles are massively useful tools to get us from point A to point B, recent history indicates a revival of traveling on foot.
More people are recognizing walking as a healthy, environmentally friendly way to get around and get in touch with their surroundings. Like any form of transportation, traveling on foot doesn’t come without risks, however. It’s important to have the proper knowledge to ensure your safety and not put yourself and others at risk of being harmed. Read on for safety tips when traveling on foot.
Know Where to Walk
The best places to walk are well-used hiking trails, such as those that run through parks. On these trails, there is no motor vehicle traffic to worry about. However, it isn’t often that the perfect trail will lead to where we need to go. If you must walk beside a roadway, make sure to stay facing traffic and stay on the same side of the road as oncoming vehicles. This lets you see cars as they are approaching and will give you time to take evasive actions if needed.
Making yourself more visible to motorists helps keep you safe while walking near roadways. Make sure you wear brightly colored clothing so drivers are more likely to see you. At night, reflective clothing such as vests or belts make you easier to avoid in the dark. Also remember to dress for the weather you will be experiencing on your walk. Wear clothing that is sufficiently warm and pack rain gear if the weather is expected to be rough.
Know Your Limits
While walking is relaxing and economical, it can also be exhausting over long distances. If you’re planning a long trip, look for places where you can stop and rest along the way. Also, make sure you always have a bottle of water on hand and take drinks frequently while walking.
It’s possible to experience dehydration, heat sickness or even a heart attack during a long walk… especially in high heat or humidity. If you’re walking and start to feel ill, it’s probably best to stop, rest, and contact someone that can give you a ride the rest of the way.
Stay Aware of Your Surroundings
Not paying attention to your surroundings is just as dangerous while walking as it is while driving. Being distracted while walking can take your attention away from dangers such as traffic or tripping hazards. Refrain from texting or using a mobile device, and keep the volume low if you decide to listen to music.
Avoid Walking Alone
Always try to have a partner to walk with. Not only does this make the trip a more enjoyable experience, but it also decreases the risk of being confronted by a potentially dangerous individual. If you’re unable to have someone accompany you during your travels, always tell someone what route you’ll be taking to get there and what time you will be coming back.
While walking may not be very fast, it’s healthy, environmentally friendly and costs nothing. However, pedestrians are also the most vulnerable travelers on the road. Many of the potential dangers faced while walking can be avoided simply by paying attention to your surroundings, so being mindful of what’s around you goes a long way toward keeping you safe.