Staying safe as a pedestrian in New Jersey winter

Cold weather has arrived in New Jersey, and that means snow and ice on sidewalks and roads. It also means hazards for pedestrians.

Each year in the U.S., motor vehicle collisions result in thousands of pedestrian deaths, and the risk of injury is higher during the winter months. While an accident is not always avoidable, the best way to keep yourself safe is to take precautions and stay alert while in crosswalks or otherwise on foot. Following are some winter safety tips for pedestrians:

Use your winter footwear

Snow and ice make roads and sidewalks difficult and sometimes impossible to navigate. When going out as a pedestrian, it's important to wear the right footwear. Make sure to wear shoes with good traction. That could help you avoid a nasty slip and fall.

Plan ahead for an alternate route or transportation

Before going outside as a pedestrian in the winter, check the weather. Blizzards or whiteout conditions are dangerous for pedestrians, who may be invisible to drivers on the road. Icy roads make it difficult for cars to stop in time for pedestrians in crosswalks or at intersections. You may need to plan your route or alternate transportation in times of bad weather.

Avoid using your cellphone while walking

When you're looking at your phone or have your headphones in your ears, you are not able to fully survey your surroundings. Even if you have the right of way, it's important to pay attention to crosswalk, sidewalk and road conditions, as well as the traffic around you.

Make eye contact with drivers

Especially in winter, it is important to make eye contact with drivers while you are walking through crosswalks or intersections. Making eye contact with drivers can help you avoid a collision, as well as combat the claim that the driver didn't see you.

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