Every one is a pedestrian. Each trip we take starts out with walking and ends with walking. Whether you take a trip to the store, walking the dog or a casual evening stroll you are a pedestrian and encounter cars each trip.
In 1996, more than 5,412 pedestrians were killed in traffic-related incidents
in the United States. 82,000 pedestrians are injured and 50,000 of those are
children. The prime victims of pedestrian crashes are children between the ages
of I- 1 9. Many of the vehicle- pedestrian crashes are caused from unsafe
crossing behaviors of children and adults.
Elementary age children are at greatest risk because of their limited
developmental skills. Children of this age group:
- Have a field of vision 1/3 narrower than an adults.
- Are unable to determine the direction of sounds.
- Cannot accurately judge the speed of distance of moving vehicles.
- Lack the ability to understand how much time and distance is needed for a vehicle to stop.
- Are easily distracted, and tend to focus on one thing at a time like a ball or a friend.
- Are easily missed by cars because of their size.
These are some of the reasons children do not always make the best decisions
when crossing the street. Some children overestimate their own abilities. Just
what can be done to help protect your child against injury or death when crossing the street?
Set boundaries for your children. Show them where they can play safely and
the limits beyond which they can't go. Be prepared to enforce your rules.
As your children grow older teach them the basic rules for crossing the
street. One of the best ways to do this is to take a walk with them
demonstrating and explaining the correct way to cross as you go along. Being a
good role model every time you cross the street with them, might be the most
important thing you do in helping your children become careful pedestrians.
Children will imitate what they see adults and teenagers do. If you walk out
between parked cars, jaywalk or cross against the light, they will likely do the
Children need to be taught to STOP at the edge of the street and look
Left-Right and Left again for vehicles before crossing.
Ask children what they see to determine that they know what they are looking
for and not just turning their heads when they cross the street.
Intersections are more complex. Children need to look over their shoulder for
vehicles that may be turning as they are looking left-right and left. Remember
that even if there is a stop sign or a signal light drivers do not always obey
the rules. Children should be taught to wait until the vehicle stops before
venturing out into the street. When the light turns green, they should look for turning
vehicles before stepping out into the street or crosswalk. Just because they can
see a driver doesn't mean the driver has noticed them.
Here are some additional safety tips for pedestrians of all ages:
No matter what age you are it is important to stop at the curb
and look left-right and left again before stepping out into the street
even when the light is green and the walk signal is on. Especially be
alert for turning vehicles. Drivers of turning vehicles are often
preoccupied looking for that opening in traffic they are not paying attention to pedestrians.
When walking in parking lots or past driveways, be sure and look for backup
lights. Most motor-vehicle crashes occur in this manner when both the pedestrian
and driver are in a hurry or not paying attention. Look for drivers in vehicles
and listen for engine noise. If the driver doesn't see you and indicate for you
to proceed, then just wait for them to get out of the way.
If no sidewalk is present and it is necessary to walk in the roadway, walk to
the left side of the road, facing traffic.
When walking after dark, wear brightly colored clothing. It is often better
to wear reflective materials. Drivers can see pedestrians up to 500 feet away
when a person is wearing reflective materials, which allows for adequate time to
stop a vehicle.