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Tips to stay safer while walking on Southern California streets

There are few things more pleasurable than taking a summer stroll in Southern California's beach towns, breathing the salt-tinged ocean air and enjoying the breeze.

But before you head out the front door, make sure you are well-prepared to be seen by the drivers you encounter. Below are some pedestrian safety suggestions from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.

Make yourself visible

  • Don't wear black clothing. Bright and light colors are the best, and be sure to use reflective tape or wear a reflective vest.
  • If you're walking after dusk, take a flashlight.
  • Cross at crosswalks, and at night, only cross where streets are well-lit.
  • Don't walk between parked cars or stand near obstacles before you cross, as that reduces your visibility to drivers.

Follow safe behaviors

  • Use the sidewalk, but if there isn't one, walk on the street, facing traffic.
  • Don't drink and walk. Walking while under the influence of alcohol increases the chance you'll be hit by a car.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before you cross the street. That is the only way to assure drivers can see you.
  • Look both ways before you cross the street.
  • Listen for cars starting and look for backup lights.

Take care at crossings

  • Cross at intersections or crosswalks.
  • Look to the left, right and left again before you cross.
  • Watch for cars that are turning.
  • If you are crossing multiple lanes, look at each lane before crossing.
  • Don't be distracted by your cellphone or headphones.

Pedestrians share the responsibility of staying safe on Southern California streets, but even if you do everything right, auto-pedestrian accidents still occur. If you are injured while walking and accumulate medical bills, an attorney can assist in your attempt to recoup your expenses.

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