Picking wrong turns a healthy habit into a safety risk.
Annette Shaff/ShutterstockIf you’ve made a routine of a daily stroll, congratulations! You’re getting these 15 awesome benefits of a 15-minute walk. But there’s one simple mistake that could be putting your life at risk.
Almost 129,000 pedestrians went to the ER with car crash-related injuries in 2015, and 5,376 died in such crashes, according to the CDC. In other words, a pedestrian died in a traffic incident once every 1.6 hours. (Don’t miss this other common walking mistake that causes 11,000 injuries every year.)
Luckily, there are some steps you can take to stay safe on foot. Sure, you drive on the right side of the road (unless you’re in the U.K.—find out why Brits drive on the left), but that’s not where you should be as a pedestrian. You should always use a sidewalk if there’s one available, but if you need to stay on the road, the CDC recommends walking toward traffic.
Seems like it couldn’t make much difference, but one Finnish study of pedestrian-car accidents between 2006 and 2010 would argue otherwise. Simply walking against traffic instead of with it cut the risk of getting hit by a car by an average of 77 percent, according to the findings. (Find out exactly how many minutes you should walk to boost your mood.)
Why such a big difference? Well, if you walk the same direction you’d drive, the cars closest to you are coming from behind. That means you’d need to rely on the driver to see you and react if it’s coming up too closely. If the person behind the wheel is distracted, you could end up injured—or worse.
On the other hand, when you’re walking against traffic, you can see the cars heading toward you. Facing those vehicles lets you see danger coming and get out of the way if necessary, and you aren’t putting your life in the hands of every driver who passes. Next time you go for a walk or run, face traffic and keep alert while you use these tips for losing weight while walking . Or skip the busy streets entirely and learn how to “mall walk” effectively.
[Source: Chicago Tribune]