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How can you stay safe on your daily walk?

A lot of folks make New Year's resolutions to lose weight and get in shape -- and walking is one of the cheapest, easiest ways to do both.

However, not every street is designed with walkers in mind. If you don't practice "defensive walking," it's very easy to end up injured by a car -- even if you're in a crosswalk.

Here are some tips you can use to stay safe while getting your daily walk in:

Be more cautious in good weather

Sunny days are actually more dangerous to walkers than any other type of weather. It could be a combination of factors behind the issue: more walkers than usual and drivers who are being less cautious.

Choose your path carefully

Most pedestrian-car accidents happen on the road itself. Try to find a route that doesn't force you to pick around areas where the sidewalks suddenly vanish, leave you at a dead end or temporarily force you to step into the road to get around an obstacle in the way.

Only cross at intersections that have traffic signals

Signaled crosswalks have stoplights that drivers are likely to notice but a lone pedestrian in a crosswalk without a signal is easy to overlook. However, keep your eyes on cars that are turning onto the street you're crossing. Pedestrians are at three times the risk of an accident from cars turning left in a signaled crosswalk than from any other vehicle.

Stay off your electronics

If you're a stroller and not a power-walker, there might be a strong temptation to play Pokemon as you walk or check your email. Don't give into the dangers of electronic distractions. You need to keep your eyes scanning for drivers who don't see you.

Keep your clothes bright and wear reflective gear

While this should be something that every walker has in mind, those who have newly taken up the sport may not be thinking about it. Almost 70 percent of accidents happen at night -- partially because a lot of people take their stroll in the evening when the sun comes down and partly because drivers can't clearly see pedestrians until they're right upon them.

If, despite your best efforts, you end up injured by a car, consider exploring your legal options before you accept any offers of compensation.

Source: Traffic Safety Store, "Why People Get Hit: Eight Causes of Pedestrian Accidents," Dana Henry, accessed Jan. 04, 2018

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