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Pedestrian deaths are at an alarmingly high level

Whether for exercise, fun or transportation, you either occasionally or regularly walk in and around Burlington. While the city has a nice network of sidewalks, paths and trails, you often must share public spaces with motorists. Before you head out for your next walk, though, you should think twice about your personal safety.

A new study from the Governors Highway Traffic Safety Association reveals that pedestrian fatalities are at a 30-year high. In fact, in 2019, 6,500 individuals died when walking, jogging or strolling in the United States. This number represents a 5% increase over the 2018 figure. To boost your odds of staying safe on foot, you may want to take the following steps.

Always use crosswalks 

Because jaywalking is illegal in Burlington, failing to use crosswalks may result in a costly fine. Even worse, crossing in the wrong place may put your life in danger. Typically, motorists do not respond well to surprises. As such, you should do what you can to remain in predictable areas. When a sidewalk meets a road, you should wait until you have an illuminated walk light to begin crossing.

Stay in lighted areas 

If you walk after dark, you must recognize that drivers may have a difficult time spotting you. Therefore, you should try to stay in lighted areas. Mapping your route before you leave home is a good idea. If your path takes you through dim places, consider wearing high-visibility or reflective clothing. Similarly, carry a flashlight or use your smartphone to shine a light on the area in front of you.

Stash your smartphone 

While your smartphone’s flashlight may help increase your visibility, you do not want your phone to distract you. Therefore, stash your smartphone until you reach a safe place to use it. If you must take a phone call or respond to a text message during your walk, step away from passing traffic.

Even though 2019 was a deadly year for pedestrians, the trend does not have to continue. By understanding the risk and implementing some techniques, you can reach your destination without incident.

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