Pedestrian accidents often have devastating consequences for walkers and joggers, but there are steps people can take to improve their safety when walking.

Whether they are walking to exercise or for work, to find their cars in a parking lot or to get to the store, or for any other number of reasons, people throughout Connecticut are often pedestrians at one point or another during the day. Unfortunately, collisions involving motor vehicles and pedestrians are all too common and frequently result in serious injuries or death for the pedestrians. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there was an average of one fatal pedestrian accident every 88 minutes in 2017. Although not all such accidents are preventable, there are things people can do to help improve their safety when walking or jogging in Connecticut.

Be visible

Many pedestrian-involved collisions occur because drivers fail to see walkers, joggers and others on the road. While dressing for comfort when walking is important, dressing for visibility is vital. During the day, it is suggested that pedestrians wear clothing that is brightly colored. At night, however, they should opt for reflective or lightly colored clothing. It may also be a good idea to carry a flashlight when walking at night and to stay in well-lit areas.

Follow the traffic rules

Just as they may assume that drivers will obey the traffic laws, so too do motorists presume that pedestrians will follow the traffic signs and signals. Therefore, it is essential that people be aware of the rules of the road, so they can anticipate motorists' actions. They should, however, never assume that drivers will give them the right of way.

Stay in areas designated for pedestrians

In addition to following the rules of the road, pedestrians should stay on sidewalks and use crosswalks whenever possible. It is recommended that people walk facing traffic and on the far side of the road. Pedestrians should never walk along highways, roadways or any other areas where pedestrians are prohibited.

Be alert

While motorists should be watching out for pedestrians, staying alert is key while walking or jogging. Listening to music or looking at their phones while walking may seem second nature or a helpful way to pass the time. However, people are advised to refrain from using smartphones or other electronic devices and not to wear headphones. This helps people keep their eyes on the road and their surroundings and ensures they can hear any potential dangers that are around them.

Refrain from drinking and walking

Part of staying alert when walking means avoiding alcohol consumption. The AAA Exchange points out that half of all fatal pedestrian collisions involved alcohol, often on the part of the pedestrian. Just as impaired judgment, reduced coordination and slowed reflexes may affect your ability to drive safely, so too may it increase your risk of being involved in a serious accident while walking.

Seeking financial compensation

When people are involved in pedestrian accidents in Connecticut and elsewhere, they often require extensive medical treatment, as well as extended time away from work to recover. For many, this leads to lost wages, mounting medical debt, and concerns over how they will provide for themselves and their families. In some situations, however, the drivers responsible for these types of accidents may be held financially liable. Therefore, those who have suffered injuries in pedestrian-involved collisions may find it helpful to discuss their rights and options with a legal representative.