Staying Healthy and Safe in an Urban Environment

Have you recently moved to a new city or into a more metropolitan part of your area? If so, now is a good time to think about the many important ways of staying safe and healthy in your new environment.

Avoiding Crime
If you are moving to the city from a smaller, safer community, you may be accustomed to leaving doors unlocked or leaving your keys in the car. These are big mistakes in a more urban environment. Here, locks and deadbolts are your friends, your first defense against the criminal element that’s ever-present in most large cities. Situational awareness is another way to stay safe—always be aware of the people around you on the street, especially after dark. Keep your head up, move with purposeful strides, and do not text and walk, especially if you are alone. If allowed by local statutes, carrying mace may be helpful, too.

Minimizing Pollution Risks
The air quality in cities is general lower than in the suburbs or rural areas. You tend to breathe in more pollutants, like vehicle exhaust, in heavily populated areas. Industrial toxins can also be a problem, whether in the air or water. Thankfully, civil engineers and city officials are taking a more active part in reducing pollution in many cities, making them healthier places to live. Keisha Brennan, who holds a NJIT Civil Engineering Master’s degree, says most cities have already acted to preserve green spaces and enacted zoning laws to prevent overcrowding. This, she says, goes far to reduce pollution and protect the health of city residents. If you are sensitive to air quality issues, be sure to check the air quality report provided by many local news stations and use respiratory protection if necessary.

Urban Traffic Safety
Whether walking or driving through the city, urban rules of the road can offer newcomers a unique set of challenges. As a pedestrian, you must be more aware of traffic signals and patterns and remain alert, especially at intersections or when attempting to cross the street. Jaywalking is dangerous and illegal in many urban areas; however, when behind the wheel, be aware that many people will cross illegally. Other vehicular dangers include following too close, running red lights, and failure to signal, all of which are more common among urban drivers and pose a serious hazard on crowded city streets. You may consider taking a defensive driving course to learn how to protect yourself during your commute.

Overall, urban life offers more opportunities in terms of jobs, culture, and new experiences. With a little caution and common sense, you can easily find ways to stay safe and healthy in the city.

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