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10 Essential Tips for Staying Safe as a Pedestrian in Nashville

Posted in Pedestrian Accident on May 4, 2018

In 2017, Nashville was ranked as the 37th most dangerous city for walkability out of 104 cities studied throughout the U.S. That represented a significant improvement over its ranking of 15th in 2014.

The Tennessean reports that 209 pedestrians were struck and killed by vehicles in Nashville between 2004 and 2014. The city has added more than 300 miles of new sidewalks since 2003, and those sidewalks are being heavily used by both residents and tourists alike.

Walkability is important for everyone in Nashville, and while adding new safety features for pedestrians is vital, it’s also important for pedestrians to recognize the risks they face and to do everything they can to reduce them.

The next time you’re traveling on foot in Music City or any other part of Middle Tennessee, do your best to follow these 10 essential safety tips:

  1. Use crosswalks whenever they’re available—Pedestrians are safer in crosswalks, especially when they’re combined with traffic lights or stop signs. It’s always safer to use a crosswalk then to attempt to cross a street in an unmarked area. Utilize available crosswalks whenever they’re available—even if it requires walking an extra distance to reach one. However, always keep in mind that crosswalks only reduce the risk of accidents. You should still always look both ways and proceed cautiously any time you enter a roadway on foot.
  2. Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing at night—Pedestrians face their highest risks when visibility is low, especially at night. Drivers have a difficult time seeing pedestrians after the sun sets, but pedestrians who are dressed in bright or reflective clothing are more likely to stand out and be seen. You can also improve your visibility by carrying a flashlight or other light-emitting device. In addition to making it easier for drivers to see you, you’ll also be less likely to be injured by obstacles in your path, including broken pavement or debris.
  3. Walk on sidewalks when they’re available—Sidewalks are also vital safety features that all pedestrians should take advantage of when they’re in the area. Sidewalks create natural barriers that help protect pedestrians from out-of-control vehicles, and they also create a clear distinction between the road itself and its extreme edges and boundaries. When walking with more than one person on a sidewalk, travel in a single-file line, especially if the sidewalk is narrow. Pedestrians who are close to the road may be at risk of being struck by vehicles as they pass.
  4. Walk towards oncoming traffic, especially if sidewalks aren’t available—Visibility is important for both drivers and pedestrians, and one overlooked way of increasing it is to walk facing oncoming traffic. When pedestrians walk with their backs turned to traffic, they’re more difficult to see, and they also can’t see the vehicles that are approaching their location. Facing traffic means drivers can see their features and recognize their presence, and it also gives pedestrians an opportunity to move out of the way to avoid potential accidents. Walking towards traffic is especially important when sidewalks aren’t available, as pedestrians may otherwise have to walk close to moving vehicles.
  5. Don’t walk while impaired—Some people may use walking as an excuse to consume alcohol and still make it home safely. However, safe walking still requires many of the same skills as safe driving, including clear vision, good judgment, excellent coordination, and fast reflexes. In addition, walking in public while intoxicated can put you at risk of being cited for a variety of offenses. Instead of walking after consuming alcohol, use a designated driver, a taxi, or a ride-sharing service to get home safely.
  6. Don’t walk while distracted—Distracted driving is a growing epidemic that’s putting everyone on Tennessee’s roadways in danger. However, distracted walking is an often-overlooked problem. Pedestrians who are distracted are less likely to look both ways before entering crosswalks or to be prepared to move out of the way to avoid a potential accident. Don’t use your smartphone or other electronic device while you’re walking. Instead, wait until you’ve reached your destination to make phone calls or send text messages.
  7. Don’t walk while listening to music—Safe walking requires the use of both your eyes and your ears. Listening to music, podcasts, or audio books while you’re walking can be an enjoyable way to pass the time, but it deprives you of important sensory information about your surroundings. Being able to hear what’s happening around you can help you avoid accidents, as you’ll be able to hear vehicles that are approaching your location or be able to communicate with other pedestrians, drivers, crossing guards, police officers, and other figures who may have important information to share.
  8. Be cautious even in parking lots—Many people take their safety for granted in parking lots, as vehicles typically drive at slow speeds and most drivers are aware of the presence of pedestrians. But many pedestrian accidents occur in parking lots, and some of them involve serious and even fatal injuries. Avoid walking too close to vehicles, as they may back in or out of spots suddenly and without warning, and always look both ways before crossing to reach stores, restaurants, and other businesses.
  9. Don’t walk or stand on highways and interstates—Major highways and interstates in Tennessee are designed for motor vehicles—not pedestrians. That’s why you should avoid them when you’re traveling somewhere on foot. In addition, it’s also important to remember that high-speed roadways are dangerous for anyone outside of vehicles, even when they’re simply standing near their vehicles after accidents or car troubles. Never change a tire or attempt to perform vehicle repairs on the side of a highway or interstate. Instead, pull over to a safe location and call a tow truck.
  10. Be alert when exiting your vehicle or approaching a bus—Sometimes, the riskiest moments pedestrians face are those that occur immediately after they exit their vehicles. Check your mirrors and turn your head to look for approaching vehicles before getting out of your vehicle, especially if you parked on or near a busy roadway. You should also be cautious when approaching public or private transportation, including buses, taxis, and ride-sharing vehicles. You may have to cross the street to reach them, and while doing so, you should always maintain safe pedestrian habits, including looking both ways and utilizing crosswalks when they’re available.

Hurt in a Car or Pedestrian Accident? Matt Hardin Law Wants to Help.

At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville pedestrian accident attorneys know that law enforcement officers throughout the state are always hard at work keeping its roadways safe for drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

But we also know that they can’t always catch negligent or careless drivers, and even the most safety conscious people on the road are at risk of being involved in serious accidents.

If you or someone you love was hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault, we want to help you maximize your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve. You shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for things like medical bills and lost wages, and it’s our goal to make sure the insurance company knows how much money you need to move forward with your life.

Call us today at (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online form to get in touch with our experienced and determined legal advocates.