Light up your outdoor walks this winter

Walking is a great way to get around and to get exercise, especially as we age. You can follow the tips below to stay safe when walking. This is very important during Alaska's dark winter months, when roads may be slick, you're less visible, and more likely to be hit by a car.

Wearing items that make you more visible, such as reflective tape, is an easy way to help drivers see and avoid you in the dark. To help all Alaskans be more visible on the road, Center for Safe Alaskans is giving out free reflective tape by mail this fall and winter. To request reflective tape, call 907-929-3939 or go to the center's website at This project is funded by a grant from the Alaska Highway Safety Office.

You can use reflective tape on many surfaces. Stick it on backpacks, coats, strollers, dog leashes, and helmets. You can also use it on mobility devices such as walkers, canes and wheelchairs. Attaching it to areas that move, such as arms and legs, is most effective.

Safe walking tips

Be mindful of your surroundings. In the winter watch out for ice and slick, packed snow.

Wear appropriate shoes and clothing for the weather. In the winter consider using ice grippers.

Don't rush it. Avoid falls by giving yourself extra time to get to your destination, especially during the winter.

Be predictable. Stay off freeways and restricted zones.

Cross or enter streets where it's legal, preferably at a crosswalk.

Avoid using alcohol and drugs before you walk.

Stay away from buses, hedges, parked cars or other obstacles before you cross streets so drivers can see you.

Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing oncoming traffic.

Don't only rely on pedestrian signals; always look before you cross the road.

Watch out for cars backing up in parking lots and out of driveways.

Look extra carefully if a driver is making a right turn. Drivers often only look at traffic coming from the left. Make eye contact before stepping into the intersection. You can also smile and wave to make sure a driver sees you. Be safe and be kind.

Use lights and reflective materials to make yourself more visible to drivers.

Theresa Hauser is the Senior Program Manager for Center for Safe Alaskans.

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