When you hear the words “public health crisis,” you may immediately think of diseases. However, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the term also applies to the rate of traffic deaths in the city, including pedestrian fatalities. Research indicates that drivers cause most of these devastating incidents, and the deaths were preventable. 

The city has launched a plan to improve safety for pedestrians that includes increasing crosswalk availability and visibility. In the meantime, here are some tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for safe walking. 

Watch for cars 

You probably learned to look both ways before you cross the street when you were young. This is still one of the best safety tips. You should also watch for cars entering or exiting the roadway at parking lots and driveways. 

Even at crosswalks, you should look around for drivers who may be looking at their phones or speeding. If possible, make eye contact with motorists so you know they see you. Before you enter a crosswalk, check for drivers who may be about to turn across your lane. 

Avoid looking at your phone as you walk, especially when you cross the street. Videos of people walking into a pole while they text may seem funny, but distracted walking could be fatal. 

Be visible 

Wearing bright clothes is good, and a safety vest with reflector tape on it is a smart addition to your wardrobe. At night, carry a flashlight. 

When you cross the road, make sure you leave the curb from a visible location. Do not step out from between cars or behind objects into a traffic lane. 

Follow pedestrian rules 

Where there are sidewalks and crosswalks, use them. If you have to walk along a stretch of road without them, walk facing traffic as far from traffic as possible and cross at intersections. Always obey traffic signs and signals.