Safely navigating local roads—which often have lower speed limits, controlled intersections and small children—demands unwavering focus. Here are important tips for drivers and pedestrians alike.

For Drivers Hit the Brakes

After hours on the highway, it’s hard for many drivers to adjust to lower speed limits in quiet towns. That’s why you must be acutely aware of how fast you are going. After driving 75 mph for a few hours, 40 may seem slow, but on local roads, it’s way too fast. Make sure to obey all the signs and scan in all directions at each and every intersection.

Eyes on the Road

Highway repairs are usually a major priority for federal and municipal governments, while local streets can sometimes be ignored. This means that drivers must anticipate crumbling curbs, broken lights, potholes and other hazardous road conditions. So watch out and drive safe.

Secure Yourself

It shouldn’t be hard to believe, but drivers and front-seat passengers wearing a seatbelt reduce critical injuries and deaths in crashes by approximately 50%.

Not a Shortcut

While it might look like a wise decision to cut through a small town after consulting a map, local streets are not meant to handle congestion. Too many cars clogging these roads can lead to accidents and other undesirable outcomes.

You Are Not Alone

Residential neighborhoods are full of life: kids playing, bicyclists, motorcyclists, scooter enthusiasts, skateboarders, rollerbladers, animals and pedestrians. Be prepared for that and expect the unexpected. The slower you’re driving, the better off you and everyone around you will be.

For Pedestrians Look Everywhere

Look both ways before crossing the street—even if you have the light. Because drivers can make mistakes, don’t take the walk signal as an indication to let down your guard. Although one-way streets permit traffic only in a single direction, that doesn’t mean unfocused drivers can’t make an errant turn. Look both ways—no matter what.

Stay Fashionably Safe

Safe is the new black. Before you don the dark clothing, know that wearing black is quite dangerous for pedestrians at night. Reflective clothing is a smart move for anyone interested in taking evening strolls.

Sidewalks are for Walking

Leave the cars to drive on the road while you stay off it. Reduce your risk by staying in this “pedestrian lane.” Wait on the sidewalk, rather than the street for the light to change. Remember, you aren’t taking a wide lead off first base.

Disconnect

Headphones are great for music but not much else. Lose your headphones when crossing the street. Playing music, no matter how quiet you think it is, muffles the sounds of the road—sounds that are important for judging possible dangers. Keep your phone in your pocket when crossing the street as well. Texting and talking are dangerous distractions that negatively impact one’s focus. Teach these tips to your children so they’ll be fully ingrained by the time they begin driving. Safe pedestrians become safe drivers. Do you have any safety tips for either drivers or pedestrians? We’d love to hear from you! Share in the comments below.