Now that spring has come to Indiana, it is easy to see that summer is just around the corner. That means that you will likely want to enjoy the weather by going on pleasant strolls or even deciding to walk to local errands. Walking is a great form of exercise, and traveling by foot instead of by car is both cheaper and better for the environment. However, it does carry its own set of risks.

Anywhere you walk, you will likely find yourself in close proximity to motor vehicles. Unfortunately, while you may be very aware of those vehicles nearby, their drivers may not be as aware of you. Whether they are distracted by texting or just too focused on where they’re going to really watch their surroundings, the people in vehicles can pose a serious risk to you as a pedestrian.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to keep yourself safe when walking on or near roadways.

Avoid distraction while walking

There’s no question that distracted driving is risky, and far too many people engage in this unsafe practice. However, distracted walking is also dangerous, even if you haven’t heard as much about it.

If you are looking down at your phone, you won’t notice if there is a vehicle bearing down on you from up the street. You may not notice that the crosswalk signal changed before you reach the curb.

If you do need to text or read an email, you should step to the side if there are other pedestrians present on the sidewalk and then read and respond to it before you continue walking.

Cross at designated crosswalks if possible

While a crosswalk certainly isn’t an option on many rural roads, most streets do offer places for you to cross safely near intersections. Not only will you benefit from the fact that vehicles slow and stop at these locations, but you are kept safer by the fact that you will also be on the lookout for vehicles while they are watching for you due to the visible crosswalk.

Additionally, if you do get hurt, there is more likely to be a traffic camera near an intersection than randomly placed on the street.

Avoid walking in the dark

When it’s dark outside, you can’t see what’s going on around you as well as you can during the day. That also means that people driving won’t be able to see pedestrians as clearly.

Although you can offset some of this risk by wearing clothing with reflective material or carrying a light source, like a flashlight, it is best to minimize how much you walk on the road after dark. You can stay safer by walking on sidewalks as much as possible and always complying with the rules of the road.

The sad truth is that even if you take every reasonable step to keep yourself safe as a pedestrian, there’s no way for you to totally mitigate the consequences of someone else’s questionable decisions at the wheel. If you get hurt as a pedestrian, you may have the right to take legal action against the driver involved in the collision.