No – none of those. The leading cause of
death is traffic accidents. In addition to the almost 40,000
Americans who die each year on the roads in the US, more die in traffic
accidents internationally than from any other circumstance. In
total, 1.3 million people from all countries die on the roads each year
– a terrible tragedy when you consider how many of these deaths are
unnecessary and preventable.
Bottom line : At the risk of stating
the obvious – and clearly, based on the above statistic, it needs to be
restated – please appreciate that pedestrian rights (and driver rights
too), are not as respected internationally as they are back home.
Familiarize yourself with both the local traffic rules and also their,
ahem, 'interpretation' in the places you visit, and then act in a manner
that is a combination of walking/driving defensively and also conforming
to the local rules and practices. You must act predictably in line
with what the locals expect.
Here's a simple example. In the UK,
with their traffic roundabouts, it is normal, whenever possible, to not
stop but to synchronize your arrival at the roundabout so you can
hopefully slot right in to whatever traffic is already in the roundabout
traveling around it, with only a slight bit of slowing down. If
you suddenly stop, there's a danger that the car behind you will go
straight into the back of you because they were not expecting you to
Similarly, in some countries, pedestrians
are overlooked and ignored. If you are a driver, don't stop for a
pedestrian unless you must, because again you risk having the car behind
you run into you. In such places, it is not your responsibility to
avoid the pedestrian, it is the pedestrian's responsibility to avoid
you. And, needless to say, if you are a pedestrian, realize that
the drivers will not go out of their way to avoid you.