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How to protect yourself as a pedestrian in San Diego

Walking is one of the best ways to get around town in San Diego. You get to enjoy the weather and can get a workout in at the same time. Of course, when you're sharing the road with bicyclists and people in cars and trucks, you are in a vulnerable position.

According to a study prepared for the city of San Diego, the number of pedestrians killed in the city has been on the rise lately. In fact, from 2006 to 2012, the number of pedestrians killed in accidents in San Diego rose by 10 percent.

Accidents that involve pedestrians and motor vehicles rarely end well for the person on foot. While the driver has a responsibility to be alert and aware of his or her surroundings, you can follow some simple safety tips to try to avoid a dangerous collision.

Use marked crosswalks and sidewalks

Whenever you have the opportunity, you should walk on a sidewalk when traveling on foot. Also, when you have to cross the street, use a designated crosswalk. If you cross in the middle of the road, a motorist is less likely to notice you.

If sidewalks aren't available, you should walk on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic. That way, you will be able to see the cars coming toward you and won't be surprised by a quickly approaching vehicle.

Wear the right clothes

The type of clothes you wear is particularly important when you're traveling at night, although wearing brightly colored clothes if you're out for a long walk during the day could also help a driver spot you more easily.

At night, however, wearing clothes with reflective fabric will make it easier for other people on the road to see you. The last thing you want to do is walk on the side of the road at night while wearing dark clothing.

Teach children how to stay safe

Young pedestrians are some of the most vulnerable people on the road. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 25 percent of all traffic fatalities involving kids under 15 years of age are pedestrians.

As a result, it is a good idea to talk to your children about pedestrian safety. Make sure they know where to walk and how to cross the street. Teach them to always look both ways even before walking in a crosswalk. The San Diego Police Department recommends telling your children to always stop, look and listen before crossing the street. Sometimes you may not be able to see a car approaching, but you will be able to hear it.

Also, teach your children to always wait for the "walk" sign when crossing the street. Even if they don't see any cars coming, they should not venture into the road if the sign says "don't walk."

Try to avoid walking when drunk

Finally, when possible, make other travel arrangements when you have been drinking alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one-third of all pedestrian deaths involve a pedestrian whose blood alcohol concentration is over 0.08 percent. In other words, the pedestrian would have been considered over the legal limit if he or she got behind the wheel of car. Consequently, it is a good idea to take a taxi or ask a sober friend to drive you home if you have been drinking.

Following these steps could help you avoid a serious pedestrian accident in California.

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Bender & Gritz, APLC
350 10th Avenue, Suite 900
San Diego, CA 92101

Telephone: 619-618-2988
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