We grow up riding in cars that travel on the right side of the road. When we learn to ride a bike, we find out that we're supposed to cycle on the right side of the road as well. For this reason, it often comes as a surprise when we hear that it's safest to walk on the left side of the road.
Nevertheless, one of the most important rules of pedestrian safety involves walking on the left side so that we're facing the flow of traffic. Why is this?
It helps to see what's coming your way
One of the primary reasons why it's safer to walk facing traffic is that you can see what's coming toward you. If a car is veering out of control, a pedestrian will have a better chance of jumping out of the way if they can see it coming first.
Being able to see what drivers are doing is important, especially for a pedestrian, because pedestrians are small compared to other vehicles and therefore more difficult to see. Also, with more drivers distracted by their cellphones these days, you definitely want to keep an eye out to make sure they are not driving in your path.
Use sidewalks if they're available
Of course, if sidewalks are available, they're always better than walking on either side of the road. On the sidewalk, pedestrians are safe from vehicles, and they don't have to worry as much about the traffic conditions around them.
Pedestrian accidents and driver liability
In many pedestrian/vehicle accidents, courts give the pedestrian the right of way. In which cases, an injured pedestrian may have the ability to pursue financial compensation from the at-fault driver.