The majority of road
users, particularly drivers, are familiar with the defensive driving concept. Defensive driving is the practice of
anticipating the actions of other drivers on the road. Rather than only
focusing on your driving, you also pay attention to the vehicles around you.
The same principle applies to defensive walking. Rather than keeping your
attention focused on yourself, you also need to pay attention to your
surroundings. Additionally, you also have to anticipate what the motorists
around you will do. In other words, defensive walking is all about recognizing
situations that carry higher risks of a crash and taking steps to control these
situations as much as possible. Walking also requires thinking ahead about what
other road users may do.
Pedestrians are the most
vulnerable group of people in and around the roadways. When a pedestrian is
struck by a vehicle, there is a higher probability that they will be seriously
walking is a proactive technique that could help you avoid a harmful collision.
It requires you to take charge of your safety by being aware of your
surroundings and anticipating the actions of those around you. Defensive
walking also entails expecting the worst-case scenario, not what other road
users should reasonably do according to the law. It is a practice that could
help you anticipate or even prevent pedestrian crashes.
By staying alert and
following these tips, pedestrians can have more control of their safety:
intersections, anticipate that a driver might run a red light. Look around before
stepping into the road even when a light turns green or the walk signal
stepping off the cab, check for cars before stepping out and make sure drivers see
v While crossing the road,
as you come to the end of the first car, stop and look to see if another car is
approaching. If so, can that driver see you? Does that driver have enough time
to stop for you? If not, it is advisable to allow the vehicle to pass before
v When possible,
pick a route that does not require walking behind vehicles. Look for brake
lights and listen for engine noise and other cues that a car is about to move. Notice
large parked vehicles that may block the view of smaller vehicles as they back
up and also look for vehicles backing out of driveways.
to be visible by wearing light, bright clothes with retro-reflective markings
and carry a flashlight or other lighting when walking at night.
v Identify high-risk situations by taking stock
of your surroundings and search for red flags such as speeding drivers, lack of
a safe crosswalk or night-time driving.
v Take proactive safety measures. Once you
ascertain a higher risk of a car hitting you, take steps to improve your safety
as much as possible.
v Cross a
street safely and as quickly as you can. If a stopped vehicle is blocking your
vision, stop when you get to the end of the vehicle to see if another is
v It is
advisable to always use designated crossing points, where these are provided.
Where there are no designated crossing points, cross at straight stretches of
the road when or where it is safe to do so. As a pedestrian, remember to always
yield to vehicular traffic.
crossing the road in front of any stationary vehicle or behind any reversing
v Where there
is a pavement or suitable verge, pedestrians should use it. If there is no
pavement or suitable verge, walk on the right side of the road facing on-coming
v It is
advisable to walk in a single file, especially on a narrow road.
avoid distractions of any kind, including using cell-phones when crossing or
walking along the road.
alcohol and drug impairment when walking.
v Do not
allow young children onto the road on their own. Accompany them, hold their
hands firmly, and ensure that you keep between them and traffic.
you are on the road as a pedestrian, you are one of the world’s most vulnerable
road user. It is very important to take all steps possible to protect yourself
from a crash when walking. Even a minor collision may lead to bone fractures, a
traumatic brain injury or organ damages. Defensive walking is about
staying alert, assessing your environment and taking steps to minimize the risk
of a crash. Always remember not to look down at your phone, chat with friends
or engage in other distractions that could compromise your ability to monitor
your surroundings. Protect yourself from a potentially fatal crash by never
assuming drivers will see you or stop to let you cross. Be a “defensive
walker”. #Safety First.