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Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law
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Safety Tips for Pedestrians in New Mexico

According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, a pedestrian was killed every 85 minutes in an accident in 2019, and over 6,200 pedestrians were killed in pedestrian accidents in 2019. A 2021 study (by Car Insurance Comparison) has also named New Mexico as the deadliest state for pedestrians (based on pedestrian death rates and accident data). In this article, we will outline safety tips for adult and child pedestrians that can help protect you.

Top 12 Pedestrian Walking & Safety Tips

Here are a few tips for adult pedestrians walking or running in New Mexico.

  1. Head up, phone down. Walking distracted can be just as dangerous as driving distracted. If your attention is on your phone, you may not be aware of your surroundings. You should avoid using your phone when walking (inside or outside).
  2. Look both ways when crossing the street. Whether you are crossing within a marked or unmarked crosswalk, you should be sure to look both ways. Cars making turns may not be paying attention or may be making hazardous driving choices. It is also important to note that if you cross outside of a crosswalk (marked or unmarked) you should yield the right of the way to any vehicles in the road. If you look both ways and cannot see oncoming traffic, you should wait to cross until your view isn’t blocked. You want to see the cars, and you want the cars to see you.
  3. Be mindful of cars in parking lots or neighborhoods. If you are walking in a residential area or around a parking lot, vehicles may be entering or leaving their driveway or parking spaces. Be sure to look out for them—just as you would cars making turns on major roadways.
  4. Do not leave the curb suddenly. Vehicle operators need time to react, and if you leave the curb without warning, you do not allow them a lot of time to react or stop.
  5. Avoid wearing earbuds. While listening to music or a podcast episode can make your walk more enjoyable, having earbuds cover or inside both ears can be risky. If possible, you should only wear one earbud or avoid wearing them at all so that you can hear the traffic sounds and horns of vehicles. As we mentioned, being aware of your surroundings is important for your safety.
  6. Do walk while under the influence. Walking while impaired by drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous. If you are impaired, your senses and reflexes will be dulled. In addition to being dangerous, walking while drunk can also impact the percentage of fault assigned to you in the accident.
  7. Wear clothing or gear appropriate for the time of day. If you walk at night, you should wear reflective clothing or gear and use a flashlight; you should also wear bright clothing so as not to blend into your surroundings. Even if you are walking during the day, you should make sure you are visible.
  8. Obey traffic signals. Obeying the rules of the road as well as traffic signs and signals can help ensure your safety. While you may be tempted to run across the street quickly (if no vehicles are approaching), if the pedestrian signals say stop, wait patiently until the signal changes.
  9. Use the sidewalk when available. While cars can sometimes pop the curb and hit pedestrians on the sidewalk, it is still safest for you to walk on the sidewalk. If a sidewalk is not available, be sure to walk on the shoulder, as far away from traffic as possible, and face oncoming traffic.
  10. Be mindful of other pedestrians and cyclists. Pedestrians can also be injured in accidents with runners or cyclists. You should look out for everyone you should share the road with; other people may yell out as they pass to warn you of their upcoming turns or that they are passing you on the right or left.
  11. Keep pets leashed. If you are walking with a pet, you should keep them on a short leash. Failing to leash them can lead to tragic accidents, and if their leash isn’t short enough, they may trip other pedestrians or cyclists.
  12. Don’t be anxious. Running or walking is a healthy and eco-friendly way to commute and get some exercise. While you should be cautious, don’t allow yourself to worry and/or become scared of being a pedestrian in New Mexico.

Walking Safety Tips for Children

Many families walk around their neighborhood, from bus stops, or around their city. Parents and guardians should make it a point to teach their children walking safety tips. While many people often tell their children to look both ways, here are a few other suggestions for ensuring your child’s safety while they’re walking.

  1. Remind them to cross with an adult present.
  2. Tell them to continue looking or glancing left and right even once they start crossing the street.
  3. Teach them to make contact with vehicle operators before crossing.
  4. Ensure they walk on the sidewalk whenever it is available.
  5. Remind them to never suddenly dart into the street or between parked cars.
  6. Help them eliminate distractions (i.e. phones, toys, etc.).
  7. Be a good role model and set a safe example.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, Michael Doyle, Attorney at Law is here to help you pursue compensation. Schedule a case consultation by telephoning (505) 219-2176 or completing this online form.