Residents in communities throughout New York are accustomed to the harsh weather the winter months can bring to the state. From freezing rain and strong winds to heavy snow and ice, these conditions dramatically impact the safety of drivers no matter the road. Unfortunately, individuals often overlook pedestrians when it comes to winter safety.
In any type of vehicle collision, a pedestrian participant is always at a significant disadvantage. From the initial impact, to falling to the ground, to being run over by the vehicle, a pedestrian often runs the risk of numerous devastating injuries from a single accident. During the winter months, however, pedestrians can take certain steps to reduce or avoid the possibility of a severe accident, including:
- Keep your senses open: The desire to multitask becomes an overwhelming temptation for numerous pedestrians. From eating a snack to pass the time to making a phone call while on the move, pedestrians can quickly become distracted and lose sight of patches of ice or approaching snowplows. This could also mean limiting your use of headphones while walking. Listening to a favorite playlist or popular podcast can overwhelm your ability to hear impending danger.
- Assume you’re invisible: From piles of snow to reduced daylight hours, drivers often have trouble picking pedestrians out of the background. It is wise to wear bright, reflective clothing and take steps to ensure drivers can see you when you are crossing the road.
- Watch for drivers: Pedestrians can build upon the previous tip by watching for driver actions near them. From making eye contact with a driver before crossing the road at an intersection, to being mindful of someone starting to turn right on red, pedestrians can reduce the possibility of a collision by identifying a driver’s actions.
- Consider your shoes: Winter footwear is a challenge, especially for those walking to work or to a friendly gathering. Pedestrians must balance the desire to arrive looking fashionable with wearing shoes that have good traction. The wrong choice of footwear can lead to slips and stumbles often into the path of oncoming traffic.
Poor weather often leads to slippery surfaces, loss of control and challenging visibility. While maintaining traffic safety rests on the shoulders of both pedestrians and motorists, it is the pedestrians who will suffer greatly in the event of a collision. By following these steps, a pedestrian can reduce or eliminate the possibility of severe winter injuries.