Stay Safe on the Street: Tips from Capital Metro
Welcome to another academic year, Longhorns! The University of Texas and our much-loved city of Austin have a lot of excitement in store for us. For all the classes, events, festivals, ball games and whatever else keeps you busy this fall, we have great transportation options. Chief among them is a humming bus system and our friends at Capital Metro want to make sure the Longhorn community stays safe. Here are tips to keep you out of harm’s way no matter how you’re traveling.
#1: Don’t Be Distracted
Keeping your eyes glued to your screen may seem like a good way to get where you’re going, but it actually means that you can’t see what is right in front of you. Avoid a not-so-pleasant surprise collision with another pedestrian, scooter, or traffic by keeping your eyes off the screen.
#2: Don’t Depend on the Crowd
After a thrilling but tiring day cheering on the football team or jamming at ACL it can be tempting to follow the crowd and spill out onto the street without checking for oncoming traffic yourself. The best person to protect you is you! Try to avoid the herd mentality and make sure you make it to your destination safely.
#3: Don’t Text and Drive
It may not seem like it if you’ve ever looked around during rush hour or on the highway but texting and driving is actually illegal in Texas. Distracted driving is dangerous and puts not only your life, but also the lives of others, at risk. The text can definitely wait and no message is worth getting in an accident.
#4: Don’t Zone Out with Headphones
The new Taylor Swift album may be right around the corner but it is still no excuse to blast music so loud that you can’t hear traffic and other pedestrians. Walking to and from class can often seem like a good time to zone out with your earbuds in but no matter where you are, traffic or bikers can be trying to send you warnings. Common warnings such as “On your left!” can be missed if you aren’t paying attention and that is definitely not safe nor in your best interest. Save the music for the gym and make sure your eyes and ears are open.
#5: Do Make a Plan to Get Home Safely
Whether you’re checking out Sixth Street or spending some time at Zilker Park, getting home safely is a must. Make a plan before going out to avoid any misunderstandings. Capital Metro has an app that can be downloaded to buy fare and to plan your trip. As an added bonus, UT students, faculty and staff with a valid ID can actually ride for free. CapMetro offers plenty of late-night options including MetroRapid, the E-Bus and Night Owl routes running until 3 a.m. See capmetro.org/latenight for more information.
#6: Do Wear Reflective/Bright Clothing to Workout
Austin is a busy city when the sun’s up as well as when it’s down. Going for a walk or jog can be a fun thing to do to soak in a Texas sunset but it is equally as important to be seen by surrounding traffic. Wear bright or reflective clothing and/or shoes to help improve your visibility and be sure to stay alert.
#7: Do Stay Alert at Crosswalks
Pedestrians and drivers alike need to be careful around crosswalks. Drivers stopped at a red light may use that time to text, check their phone, or otherwise be distracted. Pedestrians may get a head start before the walk sign is on or be on their phones as well. As a driver, stay alert and watch for pedestrians before going. If you’re on foot, make eye contact with drivers and be sure it is safe to cross.
#8: Do Know the Rules of the Road
Walking against the flow of traffic, paying attention to road signs, and watching for bike/bus only lanes are important in getting to and from your destination safely. In a city as populated and exciting as Austin there are tons of things to do--but a lot of other people are also out there exploring. Make your safety your top priority by knowing the rules of the road and staying focused. Even scooters and bikes have rules such as yielding to pedestrians and staying off of sidewalks and on bike lanes as much as possible. If you don’t know something, ask! The more you know, the further you’ll go.
Stay safe, Longhorns! UT and Austin will provide you with plenty of great experiences. So, have fun, learn a lot and add the Capital Metro app to your resources so you’ll know exactly when and where to catch a free (with valid UT ID!) ride.