People are being encouraged to walk more than ever before, and although statistics show that only 6% of the population currently walk the entire distance to work, 31% use combined modes of transport that almost certainly involve walking. As the weather warms up, more people will be taking the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air on their morning commute, so here are some top tips on making the most of pedestrian life, and staying safe in the process.
Walking is a great and really simple way to keep healthy, and a simple thirty minutes a day (which for a return journey is equal to a very brief daily commute) can make a huge difference to your life. Walking is an excellent form of cardio exercise that takes no real skill or equipment, and in this way, it helps you to lose weight, and regulate your blood pressure and general heart health.
The boost regular walking gives to your heart and circulatory system puts you at lessened risk of cancer, diabetes, stroke and blood clots. In addition to this, it is an effective but gentle way of conditioning and toning your muscles and of strengthening your bones and immune system.
You will find that your mental wellness and clarity receives a good boost from regularly walking.
Thirty minutes of walking per day equates to walking around a mile and a half, and if you do it five days a week, you will have walked seven and a half miles in a week. This may not seem like much, but when compared to the costs associated with doing the same journey in a car, the benefits become clear.
Estimates say that the average car costs between 37p and 43p per mile to run, taking into account the yearly expenses attached to car ownership, including fuel consumption, maintenance, tax, insurance and parts. This means that the average commute of nine miles a day in a car racks up costs of almost £1000 on a yearly basis – money that could be saved entirely by switching modes of transport. Consider also, that the average household spends 14.1% of its weekly income on transport costs – a significant expense that walking to work could avoid entirely.
Depending on where you live and where you work, your route may be better suited to pedestrians than others. If your commute takes you through well-populated and well-lit routes, you shouldn’t have to go to great lengths to stay safe, seen and protected on your journey to and from work. If your route takes you down any roads without pavements, or poorly lit areas, make sure to invest in some hi-vis gear and a torch to ensure you can find your way safely, and oncoming vehicles can see you and accommodate your presence. Don’t forget to walk against the direction of the traffic if there aren’t any pavements.
However, a lot of people who commute on foot are in the habit of wearing headphones to make the journey a bit more enjoyable, and this can be a dangerous move. In recent years, statistics have found that the rates of accident and death among pedestrians wearing headphones has been soaring, with one-third of the pedestrians involved not hearing the warning given by oncoming vehicles, and three-quarters of incidents being fatal. For this reason, headphones, gaming consoles or use of other devices during your commute on foot should be avoided where possible, and if you need to take a call, stop in a safe place beforehand.
Many people do not know what to do in response if they are injured in an accident on the road, particularly if they are pedestrians. In the event that you are involved in an accident during your commute, the first thing you should do is remain calm to the best of your ability – and this can be difficult, as during unexpectedly stressful moments, our bodies surge with adrenaline. Call for immediate help, and if you are able to, get yourself to a safe spot, out of the flow of traffic. If another party has been involved, they are likely to give you assistance themselves if they are able to do so. Seek medical attention and do what you can to gather as much information about the incident as possible, including names, addresses and phone numbers, vehicle registration details, dates, times, locations and details of injuries and other damage sustained. If you are physically unable to do so, ask someone to collect these details for you, and if possible, ask them to take photos of the scene and any details that may be relevant to determining liability.
Once the immediate aftermath of the accident is over, seek the assistance of a legal professional who specialises in dealing with matters of personal injury. By providing them with the details and evidence of the accident you were involved in, they will be able to give you a legal perspective on the incident, and indicate whether you may be entitled to claim compensation for your damages. In such a case, they can assist you with filing a claim for pedestrian accident compensation, and ensure that your interests are protected.
Walking to work offers so many benefits to your health, your finances, and your overall wellbeing, and should be given consideration if you live within a walkable distance of your workplace. However, appropriate care should be taken during your commute, and should the worst happen, it is better to be prepared with the knowledge of what to do next.