The Friday night death of a pedestrian on Georgia Highway 81 near Alcovy Road should serve as a wake-up call to everyone — and that’s everyone, at one time or another — who needs or wants to be out after dark.
Sgt. Cortney Morrison, the public information officer for the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, offered some advice Tuesday for anyone outdoors at night. Some ideas are basic. Some you probably haven’t thought of. The point, of course, is maybe now you will.
“If you have to walk somewhere, take your time, use your common sense and be safe,” Morrison said.
First, walk against traffic. Sidewalks are preferable, of course, but they aren’t everywhere. If you can see a car’s headlights, you have a better chance of avoiding injury. Don’t let them sneak up behind you.
It’s all about visibility, really, about seeing and being seen.
“Don’t wear dark colors at night,” Morrison said. Think white T-shirts or jackets, or maybe orange or yellow.
“Your blacks, browns, blue, greens, not so much,” she said.
“Run behind vehicles (stopped) at intersections instead of running in front of them. Even if the car or truck is stopped, there’s no guarantee the driver has seen you.”
If you’re out, don’t wear headphones, tempting as your tunes might be.
“It diminishes your ability to hear noises, voices or even an attacker,” she said.
Here’s a new one: “Wear a billed cap and clear glasses. The bill of a cap will hit a tree branch before it hits your head.” The glasses, prescription or not, will protect your eyes from whatever’s flying around.
Also, if you walk often, change your routes.
“A potential attacker can always look for patterns,” she said. “Run with a partner. There’s always strength in numbers. I love that suggestion. Highlight it. Run with a partner.”
Also, make eye contact with drivers. “That action, however brief, you know you saw them and they saw you.”
Carry your cell phone. For maybe $15, you can buy an arm wrap to hold the phone while you jog. Keep the iTunes off, but have the phone.
“Whatever happens, if you trip and twist and ankle, you can call for help,” she said.
The point is that common sense makes sense: “The suggestions we’re offering up could potentially save someone’s life.”