Safe Walking in a Winter Wonderland
After a snow or ice storm, pedestrian traffic increases significantly. But "walking in a Winter wonderland" can create potentially fatal pedestrian safety problems that are often ignored or overlooked by traffic safety experts. Snow drifts can cover signs and landmarks, or block corners, crosswalks, and handicap access ramps. Walkways may not be cleared, forcing pedestrians to walk in the street. The snow and ice can turn familiar territory into an alien landscape for pedestrians and motorists.
Everyone is a pedestrian, but there are things you can do to be a smart pedestrian - especially during the winter months. Before you take one step onto that slippery sidewalk, consider the following safety tips!
Winter Safety Tips for Pedestrians
· If the sidewalks and walkways are impassable and you have to walk in the street, walk against traffic and as close to the curb as you can.
· Proper gear is a must, but wearing dark "winter" colors can make it hard for motorists to see you, especially if they aren't expecting you. Consider wearing a brightly-colored scarf or hat, or reflective gear, especially if you have to walk in the street. And don't forget gloves, and shoes or boots with nonslip soles.
· Snow that has accumulated into drifts can muffle the sounds of approaching motor vehicles. Wearing hats and scarves that cover your ears can also distort or even eliminate these sounds. Keep warm, but make sure you can hear what's going on around you.
· If you can, shop before the storm hits! If you have to shop, don't buy more than you can easily carry. Remember - the streets may be slippery and carrying heavy packages can impair your balance.
· When traveling with babies or small children, make sure they are dressed in brightly colored or reflective clothing. If you have to push a stroller or walk in the street, the child should be in front of you and as close to the curb as possible.
· Because of road conditions, motorists may not be able to stop at traffic signals or slow down for pedestrians. Before you step off of the curb into the street, make sure that any approaching vehicles have come to a complete stop.
· Bending your knees a little, and taking slower steps can greatly reduce your chances of falling.