1.  Adult Pedestrians
2.  Child Pedestrians
3.  Impaired Pedestrians
  1. Walking in Traffic
  2. Road Safety for Elderly Pedestrians

Walking in Traffic

Protect yourself and your family by doing these things:

Walk on the Sidewalk

  • Stay on the sidewalk and crosswalks. Avoid walking in traffic where there are no sidewalks or crosswalks.
    If you have to walk on a road that does not have sidewalks, walk facing traffic.

Cross at Intersections

  • Most people are hit by cars when they cross the road at places other than intersections.

Look left, right, and left for traffic

  • Stop at the curb and look left, right, and left again for traffic. Stopping at the curb signals drivers
    that you intend to cross. Cross in marked crosswalks and obey the signal.

See and Be Seen

  • Drivers need to see you to avoid you.
  • Stay out of the driver's blind spot.
  • Make eye contact with drivers when crossing busy streets.
  • Wear bright colors or reflective clothing if you are walking near traffic at night. Carry a flashlight when walking in the dark.
  • Do not let kids play near traffic or cross the street by themselves. Kids are small, and drivers may not see them if they run into the street.

Watch your kids

  • Children should not cross streets by themselves or be allowed to play or walk near traffic. Kids are small, unpredictable, and cannot judge vehicle distances and speeds.
  • When kids get older, teach them three things to do before they cross the street:
    1. Try to cross at a corner with a traffic light.
    2. Stop at the curb.
    3. Look left, right, then left again to make sure no cars are coming.

For additional information, please contact the NHTSA hotline at:  1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236), or the NHTSA Web site.  

U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
August 1997

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Road Safety for Elderly Pedestrians

Senior citizens (persons age 65 and over) comprise 13 percent of the population, but account for 23 percent of all pedestrian fatalities - meaning that seniors are almost twice as likely to be killed by an automobile as members of the general public. As a group, senior citizens are particularly dependent on safe streets for walking because many of them no longer drive.

Most elderly pedestrian fatalities result from inattention or carelessness, medical conditions or the effects of medication. Therefore it is important that elderly pedestrians take street crossing seriously and appreciate the dangers. It is important for elderly pedestrians to appreciate that there is a very serious risk posed even if they are hit by a relatively small vehicle. Although most elderly pedestrian fatalities occur during the daytime, it is important to note that evening pedestrian incidents often involve alcohol on the part of the pedestrian. Thus elderly pedestrians should be particularly careful not to get too intoxicated if they are going to be walking near traffic.

Because peripheral vision diminishes as people get older, reflexes slow and the ability to move quickly and in an agile manner decrease, it can take longer to cross road and, it is harder to deal with situations that require prompt evasive action. Also, because eyesight and hearing often become less acute the judgment of traffic distance and speed can become less accurate. Therefore, elderly pedestrians should allow themselves plenty of time to cross the road. They should make eye contact with drivers if possible to ensure that they are noticed. They should use marked crossings if possible. Also it is important to stop before crossing the road so as to allow time to check for traffic and make appropriate decisions.

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