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You’ve probably noticed: it’s gets darker this time of year. Next week, we will set the clocks back one hour – and the evening rush hour will take place in the dark. This makes it an especially important to exercise extra caution as a pedestrian.

Here in Oregon the law states that a pedestrian has to use “due care” when crossing a street. This just means that pedestrians have a duty to be careful. Throughout Oregon, there is a crosswalk at every intersection, which is often unmarked. However, drivers aren’t usually looking for pedestrians at these unmarked crosswalks, so take extra precautions to make sure you stay safe.

  • Be sure to look both ways before crossing a street, even when you have the right-of-way. If you do not have a good view of oncoming traffic, find a better place to cross.
  • Keep looking right and left as you cross the street—conditions can change in an instant.
  • Walk at a steady pace: don’t dart out or do anything unexpected.
  • Make sure you are visible. This can mean crossing in well-lit areas, wearing bright clothing, or even using a flashlight. Pedestrians can be difficult to see from cars – particularly in wet conditions.
  • Be especially vigilant at intersections where cars might be turning across the crosswalk.
  • Take off your headphones when you cross. You may be able to hear a car coming that you can’t see yet.
  • If you aren’t sure that the driver saw you, just wait.

It seems like there is an uptick in pedestrian accidents and fatalities every year when Daylight Savings Times ends – and Oregon has already had more pedestrian deaths so far this year than all of last year. While you can’t control the actions of drivers, you can and should be safe and alert while walking. Getting across a street more quickly isn’t worth risking serious injury.

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