Friday, December 29, 2017

KDOT, KHP urge responsible driving this holiday weekend

This holiday weekend, while you are celebrating the holiday season, whether it is with your family, a night on the town with friends or a small get together at someone’s home, the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Highway Patrol would like to remind drivers and passengers to be responsible while enjoying the festivities. Here are some tips to enjoying the holiday responsibly:

  • Never drive or ride with someone who is impaired or drowsy.
  • If you plan to consume alcohol, have a plan in place before you go. Know what you’ll do for a ride home, whether it is a ride service, public transportation, a designated driver or finding a place to stay. If you do consume alcohol:
    • Give someone your keys.
    • Don’t drink to impairment.
    • Don’t drink on an empty stomach.
    • Take the night off and serve as a designated driver for others.
  • Have an emergency kit in your vehicle and your phone charged in case of car trouble.

If you need help on a Kansas highway, call *47 for the Kansas Highway Patrol or call *KTA (*582) for the Kansas Turnpike Authority. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Brock named KDOT’s Director of Aviation

Robert Brock has been selected to assume the role of Interim Director of Aviation at the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Brock has been serving KDOT and the State of Kansas while spearheading national aviation efforts as the first state Director for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Chairman of the Kansas UAS Joint Task Force. Under Brock’s direction, the division introduced the first statewide Unmanned Traffic Management to integrate UAS into the National Airspace System.

Prior to joining KDOT, Brock served over 22 years in the Air Force and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. As a military officer, he led both manned and unmanned flight operations. Brock is also an instrument-rated commercial fixed-wing and helicopter instructor pilot.  

“We are so fortunate at KDOT to have such a talented and passionate person like Bob Brock to take over aviation,” said Secretary of Transportation Richard Carlson. “After already serving the state and the agency in opening new doors for UAS, Brock is in the best possible position to make great strides for aviation in Kansas.”

Representing Kansas as a national aviation leader on the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Drone Advisory Committee-Task Group Three, Brock will continue to work closely with the FAA and aviation stakeholders across the nation to support Kansas aviation. He will also oversee the Kansas Airport Improvement Program, Unmanned Systems Program, and Science, Technology, and Aviation Resource (STAR) program.

“I look forward to my continued service to KDOT and the State of Kansas,” said Brock. “We will continue to work with legislators, stakeholders, and communities to increase aviation safety and promote the growth of the aviation industry in Kansas.”

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

#KDOTTUESDAYS: Sharing the road with Semi-Trucks

With more  than 2 million semis on the road every day, it is easy for other drivers to take the semi and the driver for granted.  However, by understanding the challenges that semis and their drivers face, others on the road can drive more defensively and possibly avoid a serious collision.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are nearly 450,000 collisions, approximately 140,000 people are seriously injured and at least 5,000 motorists die as a result of a crash involving a semi or large truck in the U.S. each year.

Because a commercial semi can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and most passenger vehicles weigh 3,000 pounds or less, collisions involving commercial trucks are often the most damaging and dangerous on the roads.  Many drivers believe that because the truck is bigger, the truck is at fault.  However, statistics show that 72 percent of crashes involving semis are the fault of the other vehicle. 

Drivers can minimize the risk of a collision involving a semi by better understanding these vehicles, the challenges semi drivers face and by driving defensively.

Semis have blind spots just like passenger vehicles, but because semis are taller and longer, they have twice as many blind spots. To limit the possibility of a crash, drivers should avoid the blind spot or “no zones,” when sharing the road with semis.

The passenger side of a semi has a much larger blind spot than the driver side. As a result, drivers should pass on the left side of the semi whenever possible and not drive in the blind spot on either side unless passing.  In addition, drivers should allow extra room before cutting back in after passing, to avoid the front blind spot.

Because semis are much larger and heavier than a passenger vehicle it is much more difficult to maneuver, especially in tight situations where quick movements or lane changes are necessary. Their size also makes it impossible to come to a sudden stop. It can take a semi traveling 60 miles per hour almost the length of three football fields to come to a complete stop.  Passenger vehicles should always give the semi plenty of room and respect the semi’s space.

Finally, many trucking companies require speed limiters which limit the top speed at which the semi can travel.  This means the semi may not be able to maintain the same pace as the surrounding traffic.  Drivers should be patient and move around the semi when it is safe to do so.

Friday, December 22, 2017

KDOT, KTA receive asphalt paving awards

KDOT and APAC Kansas received first place for an Overlay Project greater than 1-inch on U.S. 36 in Decatur County earlier this month. 

A total of 26 projects were nominated by hot-mix asphalt paving contractors for the 2017 Kansas Asphalt Paving Association awards program that took place on Dec. 7 in Lawrence.

“We are proud of our excellent roadways here in Kansas and at KDOT,” said Transportation Secretary Richard Carlson. “It is fitting that our talented KDOT workers are recognized for their dedication to quality.”

The Kansas Department of Transportation, the Kansas Turnpike Authority and the contractor on the projects were honored in several categories.

·      First place Director’s Award for the U.S. 400 project in Cherokee County for KDOT and APAC Kansas.
·      Second place Director’s Award for the U.S. 83 project in Haskell County for KDOT and Venture Corporation.
·      Second place Overlay 1-Inch or Less Award on the I-35 project in Sedgwick and Butler counties for the KTA and Shilling Construction.
·      First place Overlay 1-Inch or Less Award on the U.S. 281 project in Russell County for KDOT and Venture Corporation.
·      First place Overlay Greater Than 1-Inch Award on the U.S. 36 project in Decatur County for KDOT and APAC Kansas.

·      Second place Overlay Greater Than 1-Inch Award on the K-156 project in Ellsworth County for KDOT and Shilling Construction.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Director of Aviation Merrill Atwater departs KDOT

Merrill Eisenhower Atwater will depart the Kansas Department of Transportation at the end of the year. Atwater has served as KDOT’s Director of Aviation since February 2016.

“It has been a true privilege working on behalf of the citizens of Kansas as the Director of Aviation for KDOT,” said Atwater. “I’d like to thank Secretary Carlson for his leadership and Governor Brownback for his emphasis on aviation. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for KDOT Aviation and I am excited to start a new venture and join the legacy of People to People International.”

In his role at KDOT, Atwater worked with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), collaborated with aviation stakeholders across the state and oversaw KDOT aviation programs, receiving the FAA 2017 Impact Award for his efforts.

“Under Merrill’s management, the Division of Aviation at KDOT has created a significant imprint on the heart of the Kansas aviation industry,” said Secretary of Transportation Richard Carlson. “From economic development, to workforce innovation programs and educational opportunities, Merrill has led KDOT Aviation on a path of innovation. We appreciate his service to this agency and the State of Kansas and wish him the very best.”

Atwater will take on the role of Chief Operating Officer at People to People International, an organization created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, which is dedicated to peace through understanding and friendship on the international stage.

The Kansas Department of Transportation would like to thank Merrill for his service.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

#Back2Basics: Debunking common misconceptions about driving in Kansas

The driver’s license: It’s a rite of passage for new drivers. For many of them it’s a ticket to freedom. Obtaining a license potentially means that of depending on guardians, an older sibling or friend to provide transportation to a destination are a thing of the past.   

Before that license can be obtained, new drivers must go through training and testing to understand the rules of the road. 

Unfortunately, upon completion of those requirements, some drivers do not go back and reread the Kansas Driver’s Handbook. Important information and rules of the road may have been forgotten, which can have an impact on traffic behaviors.

For the next several weeks we will take a quick look at some of the misconceptions about driving. Feel free to read this blog as a reminder to yourself and share it with your loved ones.

Today’s #Back2Basics blog is about the speed limit in Kansas.

Common Misconception #1: “I can go 5-10 miles over the speed limit and I won’t get pulled over.”

Fact: According to both the Kansas Driver’s Handbook and the Kansas Highway Patrol, there is no buffer speed limit. Drivers should not exceed the posted speed limit. However, there are times when going below the speed limit may be necessary, especially during inclement weather.

 “Kansas’ basic speed law requires that you never drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing,” The Kansas Driving Handbook says, “Consider road, weather and your vehicle condition, as well as your own physical condition. What might be a reasonable speed at one time may not be reasonable at another time because of differing conditions. Adjust your driving to road, traffic and weather conditions.”

Speed Limits can vary depending on where you are.

Have you ever found yourself traveling in an unfamiliar part of the state, and you just aren’t sure what the speed limit is? Where no special hazards exist, the law sets maximum speeds for normal driving conditions. Unless otherwise posted the maximum speeds are:

  • In Towns or Cities: Thirty (30) miles per hour in any urban district
  • On Roads and Highways Outside of Towns: Seventy-five (75) miles per hour on any separated, multi-lane highway as designated and posted by the Secretary of Transportation
  • Sixty-five (65) miles per hour on any State or Federal Highway
  • Fifty-five (55) miles per hour on any County or Township road
  • Unless otherwise posted – Maximum speed limits 20 mph -School Zone (when properly marked) -Business District (when properly marked)

Common Misconception #2: I can go as slow as I want as long as I don’t exceed the speed limit.

Fact:  Slower drivers must go the speed limit too and there is such a thing as going too slow. According to the handbook, minimum speed limits also exist on some roadways. Going too slow can impede traffic and it can lead to traffic incidents. Where these minimum speed limits are posted, any speed below that is considered unlawful under normal weather, road and traffic conditions.

“Even when a minimum speed is not posted, it is unlawful to drive a vehicle so slowly as to impede or block the normal movement of traffic,” the Kansas Driver’s Handbook says. “The exception is when it is necessary for safe operation in compliance with the basic speed law.”

So, the next time you are behind the wheel, remember unless conditions call for slower driving, the posted speed limit is the speed you should be going. Remember to slow down in Work Zones and give highway workers plenty of room.

Check back next week when we discuss passing misconceptions in Kansas.
For more information, you can read the Kansas Driver’s Handbook here:

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

#KDOTTUESDAYS Bridge replacement project wraps up on K-196 in Butler County

Side view of a bridge that is built over Whitewater River in Butler County. 

K-196 between the cities of Potwin and Whitewater reopened Dec. 14 after a project that replaced three bridges.

That portion of the highway – from I-135 in Harvey County to K-254 in Butler County – had been closed since February for the $2,726,000 project.

The new bridges provide 10-foot-wide shoulders to each lane, replacing structures did not offer shoulder room for the estimated 2,000 drivers who use them daily.

Bridge over Whitewater River in Butler County

The bridges are located between Northwest Diamond Road/K-196 Intersection and Northwest Tawakoni Road/K-196. King Construction Company Inc. of Hesston was the primary contractor for the project, which upgraded/replaced Dry Creek Bridge, Whitewater River Bridge and Diamond Creek Bridge.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Truck Parking Information Management System project underway

Truck Parking Information Management Systems help inform truck drivers about parking availability in rest areas. 

The Kansas Department of Transportation has joined together with seven other states in the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials (MAASTO) to develop a multi-state Truck Parking Information Management System.  This TPIMS project will improve the safety and efficiency of America’s freight network by providing real-time parking availability information to truck drivers through dynamic message signs, smart phone applications, traveler information websites, and other communication methods.  With implementation of the regional TPIMS project, commercial truck drivers will be able to find available parking more easily and efficiently route themselves to those locations, increasing their productivity and lowering their costs.

In 2013 a national survey revealed that 83 percent of drivers routinely took longer than 30 minutes to find parking.  Drivers who have not located parking before reaching their hours of service limits are often forced to park illegally or unsafely, often on the shoulders of highways, on off ramps, or at abandoned facilities.  This loss of productivity adds six percent or more to labor costs associated with moving goods through the national freight network.

KDOT began installation of TPIMS on Monday, December 11.  These signs will provide the number of available truck parking spaces at 18 rest areas along I-70.  Each sign shows parking spaces available for two to three rest areas to give trucks an idea how full parking areas are five, 30, 60 miles ahead, as an example.  We are using a “computer vision” 
system that uses cameras to build a 3D image of the parking area so available spaces can be automatically detected.  Most rest areas will have two camera poles installed near the truck parking area and each pole will have three cameras mounted on it to produce the 3D image.

Deployment of this innovative system is scheduled for the Fall of 2018.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

State agencies urge winter weather preparedness during the holiday season

Here are some items that you can include in your winter weather travel kit. 

Prior to the upcoming winter weather season, the Kansas Department of Transportation, Kansas Turnpike Authority, and the Kansas Highway Patrol are urging motorists to travel safely and prepare for winter road conditions wherever they travel.

Road conditions in the state can be checked utilizing KDOT’s KanDrive site, KanDrive provides map views of road conditions and closures, real-time camera views of current highway conditions, and links to road information for neighboring states. You can also call 5-1-1 from any phone in the state for a recording of road conditions.

The state encourages you to make sure your vehicle is prepared ahead of the storm season, when ice, snow or rain, as well as colder temperatures can make driving more difficult.  Check your wiper blades, tire treads, wiper fluid levels, and that in general your vehicle is in good mechanical working order, including your emergency flashing lights. It is recommended you keep a winter weather emergency kit in your vehicle at all times. Emergency kits should contain item such as: 
  • A flash light
  • Extra warm clothing
  • Extra batteries
  • Extra Vehicle Fluid
  • A shovel
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Non-perishable snack food
  • Bottled water
  • Matches and candles
  • First aid kit
  • Pocket knife
  • Tow chain and/or rope
  • Booster cables
  • Road flares
  • Fluorescent Distress flag
  • Blankets 
Here's a fun activity to teach youngsters how to dress warmly for winter travel. Don't forget a snow shovel in case you get stuck! 
When winter weather occurs, motorists should prepare to leave early and allow extra time for travel.  Frost and snow should be completely cleared off all windows, mirrors and lights to provide maximum visibility.

If you encounter winter weather while traveling: 
  • Accelerate and brake gently.
  • Increase following distance between you and other vehicles.
  • Do not use cruise control when traveling in wet, icy or snowy conditions.
  • Always buckle up and ensure your children are in appropriately-fitted child-safety seats.
  • If you become involved in a non-injury crash, which does not involve hazardous materials, Kansas law requires you to move your vehicle out of the lane of travel to protect yourself, as well as other motorists.
  • Dress for conditions. Make sure you have a coat, gloves, appropriate footwear, etc. if you are traveling in winter weather.
  • Let loved ones know your route of travel. 
If you need help on a Kansas highway, call *47 for the Kansas Highway Patrol or call *KTA for the Kansas Turnpike Authority.

If you have an active K-TAG from the Kansas Turnpike Authority, you can use the electronic lanes on Oklahoma and Texas tollroads. Verify your K-TAG account is active and ready for travel by logging into your online account (, by calling (800) USE-KTAG or by using the PayIt Kansas mobile app.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Aviation Art Contest now accepting entries

The KDOT Division of Aviation officials are encouraging young artists take their talents to new heights by participating in the 2018 International Aviation Art Contest, "Flight Into the Future.”

The contest, for which there is no entry fee, is for artists ages 6 to 17 years of age and is intended to encourage creative kids to imagine what the future of aviation will be.

What new innovations and ideas will shape the aviation of the future? From hang gliders and parachutists, to drone pilots and citizen astronauts, the only limit to the future of flight is the imagination of builders, dreamers and pilots of today. It’s time to tap into your own imagination, grab your favorite set of crayons, markers, pencils, or paints and create a poster for this year’s Fédération Aéronautique Internationale’s theme, Flight into the Future. Show us your vision of what can happen when people work together and follow their passion for flight

Artists will compete in age groups:
  • Those born between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011
  • Jan. 1, 2004, and Dec. 31, 2007
  •  And Jan. 1, 2000, and Dec. 31, 2003

The top three state winners from each age group will have their work entered in the national competition. The three winners in each group at the national level will then have their entries considered in international competition.

State winners will receive a certificate and state recognition; national winners will receive certificates, ribbons and a framed reproduction of their artwork; and international winners will receive certificates and medals.

The deadline for entries, which cannot be computer-generated and must be submitted in 11¾-by-16½-inch format, is Jan. 19, 2018.

For more information and contest rules, go here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Recognizing human trafficking while you travel

Referred to as “modern-day slavery,” human trafficking is hitting closer to home than you think. 

It’s estimated that as many as 27 million men, women and children have been sold into prostitution, domestic servitude or other forced labor around the globe. And while we may not think of human trafficking as a transportation issue, criminals are using our roadways, railways, waterways and skies to traffic their victims.

As a traveler, there are signs you can be on the lookout for to recognize a victim of human trafficking. Some of those indicators include:

  • Inappropriate attire for the weather or mode of travel
  • Tattoos of a barcode, the word “daddy” or a man’s name
  • Minors accompanied by a noticeable older “boyfriend” or not in class during school hours
  • Lack of knowledge about their travel plans and destination
  • Avoiding eye contact or exhibiting signs of fearful behavior
  • Bruises, cuts or other signs of physical abuse

Note, this is not an all-inclusive list, nor are all adults or children who exhibit these signs victims of human trafficking. But if you suspect someone is being trafficked, contact law enforcement immediately.

By learning the signs of human trafficking, we can help identify more victims and help them find the assistance they need.

For more information:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Two projects win ACPA Gold Awards

Aerial view of the South Lawrence Trafficway

KDOT projects continue to receive national attention. Earlier this month, the South Lawrence Trafficway (SLT) and a reconstruction project on U.S. 56 in Gray County received Gold Awards from the American Concrete Pavement Association at the Annual Excellence in Concrete Pavement Awards ceremony.

According to the ACPA, the awards program recognizes high-quality workmanship in concrete pavement project while serving to provide exposure as well as share information on highly successful projects. The program recognizes contractors, engineers, and project owners who completed the projects.

The South Lawrence Trafficway received a Gold Award in the Divided Highways Rural Division. The six-mile, four-lane freeway moved the existing K-10 onto a new alignment which has had a positive impact on travelers in Johnson, Douglas and Shawnee counties.

The $138 million project also contributed to the creation of 300 new acres of wetlands and bike paths.  Although the span of the project was only 6 miles, it was a total of 43.23 actual lane miles and the project wrapped up ahead of schedule.  The project is expected to benefit the region by $3.7 billion, the largest of any project under the T-WORKS program.

The SLT also received a Sustainable Practices Recognition award for its efforts to protect plants and animals in the Baker Wetlands. 
“Your lasting work provides a well-designed, long lasting highway while also meeting the delicate need for ecological balance in the wetlands,” according to the award.

HNTB Corp. was the engineer and Emery Sapp & Sons Inc., was the contractor on this KDOT project.

U.S. 56 in Ensign.

The reconstruction project of U.S. 56 in Gray County also won a Gold Award in the State Highway division. The project included a combined 7.6 miles of concrete reconstruction in the towns of Ensign and Montezuma.

According to the ACPA, the “Hardroaders” at Koss Construction Co. and their team of subcontractors didn’t waste time starting the project. The scope for the project was a four-phase project to be completed in 319 working days.

“With excellent communication and coordination between KDOT and the Koss team, the project was completed within the schedule, giving the owner and road users a high-quality, durable pavement.”

Transystems was the engineer for the project in Montezuma, the project in Ensign was designed by Professional Engineering Consultants and Koss Construction Co. was the contractor on this KDOT project.

The Kansas Department of Transportation takes pride in all of the projects and endeavors throughout the state and looks forward to continuing to provide these types of high-quality services to the people of Kansas.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Reaching new heights: Twenty pilots receive Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award

Six hundred months, 18,250 days…they both equal 50 years. That is the amount of time that pilots are required to fly before they can receive the most prestigious award that the Federal Aviation Administration issues ---  the Wright Brothers Master Pilot award. 

Last Saturday, 20 pilots from across the state gathered to receive the award from the FAA, which recognized their contributions to building and maintaining the safest aviation system in the world. For more than 50 years the pilots recognized and promoted safe air travel and operations.  This ceremony was the single largest collection of pilots that the FAA has recognized in the country. 

Pilots present  received their Wright Brothers Master Pilot Awards on the South lawn of Larksfield Place in Wichita.
To receive this award, the nominees must have flown accident free, exhibited professionalism, skill and a high degree of aviation expertise for at least 50 years as an active pilot.  The date of nominees’ first solo flight is the effective start date to receive the award. Having any airman certificate revoked would disqualify the nominees and they needed to have three letters of recommendation from peer pilots to be considered. Their piloting history was also a major factor.

Captain Doug Moler, a recipient of the award and the organizer of the event, said that, like most pilots, he was fascinated with flying early on in life.
“When I was a child, my dad would take the family out to the old municipal airport in the family car to watch airplanes come and go,” Moler said in his pilot biography. “This was great fun and unforgettable good times. As I got older, I began riding my bicycle out the old terminal every time I got the chance. It was quite a ride, about five miles each way, but well worth it.”

Moler said that when he turned 15 he rode in his first airplane, a Cessna 172.
“I wanted nothing more than to fly more and more, but it seemed as though I didn’t have a lot of help and guidance along the way,” Moler said.

When Moler turned 20 he began flight school and by 1965 he had learned to fly solo.
“The greatest day in my training was on March 10, 1965 when I flew my first solo,” Moler said. “Three takeoffs and landings to a full stop on runway 19 and I was in heaven! Soon I was out practicing all the maneuvers and flying cross-country. On August 21, 1965, I became a private pilot and flew every chance I got.”

Moler said he has had a successful piloting career and continues to stay active in the aviation community through several organizations and groups. He and his wife attend three or four fly-ins a year and share their love of aviation with their friends.
“I feel gifted by the Lord that I have been able to spend most of my working life doing something I dearly love and that I got paid well for it,” Moler said. “That’s something I thank God for everyday!”

Past award recipients and supporters were also in attendance at the ceremony. Spouses were given a pin for their support and dedication as well. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Westbound portion of Lewis and Clark Viaduct to be replaced

The photo above shows an overall view of the Lewis and Clark Viaduct looking west in to Kansas. 
A project to replace one of the bridges in the Lewis and Clark Viaduct was one of the projects included in the November KDOT Construction letting. This project is to replace the I-70 westbound bridge that spans the Kansas River and is nearing the end of its service life. Removal of the old bridge will begin in February.

The new bridge will be 2,980 feet long, have 20 new spans and 18 new piers. One of the new piers will be in the Kansas River. The new bridge will also contain more than 21,000 cubic yards of concrete and 3,100,000 pounds of reinforcing steel (excluding the drilled shafts and prestressed concrete beams). The bridge will contain more than 55,000 feet of steel pile and 2,100 feet of drilled shafts (72 inches in diameter).

American Bridge Company of Coraopolis, Pa., is the prime contractor on the approximately $65 million project. It is scheduled to be complete in December 2019. Debbie Tanking’s road squad and Mark Hurt’s bridge squad designed the project. 
To see all the projects in the November letting, click here.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

#KDOTTUESDAYS: New chemical storage building in Concordia

The new chemical storage building in Concordia features two bay doors on either side. 

Pictured above is the new chemical storage building at the Concordia Subarea office.

This isn’t the first chemical storage building in the State, but it is the largest and the first to have two bays with doors on either side.  This design came from the minds of James Roudybush, District Two Maintenance Engineer and Robert Fuller, Staff Engineer in the Bureau of Maintenance.  Most subareas around the State have a salt dome and one smaller chemical storage building.

When operational, this design will allow trucks to load from either side eliminating the need to scrape out old salt, sand, and other supplies from the back.  It will also allow different materials to be stored in the same bay.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Don’t be a Grinch by being a “pedtextrian"

The hustle and bustle of the holidays are upon us and visiting shopping centers, attending parties, discussing holiday gifts with loved ones and even online shopping are a huge part of the season. During this festive time of year, we need to remember one thing – stay alert while traveling.

Whether you text or drive, or text and walk at the same time, both activities are dangerous. The National Safety Council said that distracted walking incidents are on the rise and everyone with a cell phone is at risk of serious injury if they don’t pay attention while walking.

In 2016, 5,987 pedestrians were killed in the United States.  A contributing factor for this rise in fatalities is not paying attention to our surroundings. This is putting our safety, and the safety of others, at risk.

The solution is simple: Stop using phones while walking, even if you aren’t at a crosswalk or intersection. Distracted walking incidents can happen virtually anywhere, even in our own homes or familiar places.

An added hazard to texting while walking is sidewalks that are covered in ice.
Both the NSC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have some great tips to help walk safer and smarter:
  • Don’t use your phone or smart device while walking.  If you aren’t paying attention, you may as well be walking blindfolded.
  • Pay attention to vehicles: look left, then right, and then left again. Vehicles can travel large distances in a short timeframe. Never assume that you can beat a moving automobile.
  • Be bright. Wear light colored clothing.
  • Don’t wear headphones while walking. Like texting and walking, when we wear headphones we are sacrificing a crucial sense: our hearing.  The ability to hear an approaching vehicle can be an important warning sign that traffic is coming toward you.
  • Never rely on a driver to stop, make sure they can see you. A great way to do this is to make eye contact with them. If you aren’t sure they have spotted you, don’t cross until it is safe.
  • If your vision is blocked by another car or object, move to a safer location before crossing.
  • Use crosswalks.
  • Walk in groups.
  • Never allow children younger than 10 to cross the street alone.

The holidays can be a wonderful time of year for many, and although our minds may be filled with presents, holiday treats, family and candy canes; if we use these tips the holidays could be jollier for everyone.