Why Do Pedestrians Walk Against Traffic? (Explained)

When walking on or near the road, it is important to be as safe as possible.

Walking against traffic means walking with the car coming toward you, and most people do this to stay safe.

When you can see the car coming, you can get out of the way should it head toward you.

In this article, we discuss why some pedestrians walk against traffic and how to stay safe on the road:

Why Pedestrians Walk Against Traffic:

Most people walk against traffic to see oncoming cars. That way, pedestrians can get out of the way if the car veers off-road or comes toward them. Walking in traffic means having the car at your back, so you can’t see it coming in the event of an emergency.

Is It Safer for Pedestrians to Walk Against Traffic?

Walking against traffic is recommended when there is no sidewalk available.

If there is no sidewalk, you will most likely be walking on the edge of the road or off-road to stay away from cars.

In that case, walking against traffic lets, you see vehicles approaching you. That means you can get out of the way should a vehicle veer or go off-road.

If you were walking with traffic, you would not be able to see cars coming, and so you would not know if one was coming toward you. That could put you in more danger.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises pedestrians to walk against traffic on roads without sidewalks or where sidewalks are unavailable.

Following this recommendation is a good way to stay safer on your daily walk.

Do Pedestrians Also Walk Against Traffic if There’s a Sidewalk?

If there is a sidewalk, you can face whichever direction you like when walking.

The point of a sidewalk is that it is safer to use than when walking on the road or off-road. It is also usually a few feet or more away from the road and oncoming traffic.

That means that you should be safe from oncoming vehicles no matter where you are on the sidewalk.

However, that is never a guarantee. Cars can go off-road or veer away from traffic or wild animals at any time.

At night or during inclement weather, it is possible to be hurt by a car, even if you are on the sidewalk. Furthermore, cars are known to drive fast into driveways in residential and commercial areas without looking for pedestrians first.

So, while you are likelier to be safer on a sidewalk, you should remain cautious and watch.

Should Joggers and Runners Walk Against Traffic?

Joggers and runners should be cautious when exercising.

It is more important for runners and joggers to face traffic than away from it. That way, they can see – rather than hear – a car coming.

This is especially true if these joggers or runners have headphones on playing music. If you can’t hear a car coming, you will need to be able to see it.

That will give you enough time to get out of the way in the event of an oncoming car.

Also, joggers and runners should always wear reflective or bright gear when running – especially at night.

Drivers struggle to see pedestrians even during the day, so taking extra precautions at night is important.

Is There a Law About What Side of The Road to Walk On?

In the United States, no federal law specifically dictates which side of the road you should walk on. However, state and local laws do have requirements for pedestrians.

Depending on the city, state, or town, it is possible the law will dictate that you should walk against traffic.

Make sure that you know your local traffic laws and codes. When in doubt, walk against traffic to keep an eye on cars!

Common Causes of Pedestrian Accidents?

Most pedestrian accidents are caused by being distracted.

Many people accidentally walk into traffic while looking at their phones or have music playing in their ears.

Others will run across the street during a yellow light or when the light is about to turn green. Some people will jaywalk or cut across the street when no crosswalk is present, opening themselves up to danger.

However, there are also reasons for pedestrian accidents that are not the pedestrian’s fault.

For example, drunk or distracted drivers can also hit someone who is crossing or walking across a driveway entrance. Some drivers are in too much of a hurry and fail to yield at a stop light or stop sign.

How Can They Be Prevented?

To prevent these types of accidents, drivers can take several precautions, such as obeying traffic signals and speed limits, paying attention to the road, and avoiding distractions such as using cell phones while driving.

Pedestrians can also take steps to reduce their risk of accidents by staying alert, avoiding distractions such as using cell phones while walking, using crosswalks when available, and wearing visible clothing or reflective gear, especially when walking at night.

Additionally, communities and local authorities can take steps to improve pedestrian safety, such as installing crosswalks, pedestrian signals, and traffic-calming measures, such as speed humps or roundabouts.

Educating drivers and pedestrians about the importance of safe behavior on the road can also help reduce the risk of accidents.

Was this article helpful? Like Dislike

Click to share...

Did you find wrong information or was something missing?
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)