As the seasons shift into spring and summer, people spend more time walking outside and enjoying the weather. While it is an exciting time, it is also a more vulnerable time for pedestrians. According to safekids.org, unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury-related death in the U.S. for children ages 5 to 19. However, teens are at the greatest risk with a death rate twice that of younger children and account for half of all child pedestrian deaths.
Motorists are responsible for looking out for pedestrians, but it is also important for pedestrians to be vigilant and take precautions to stay safe! We’ve gathered some tips to help you be a smart, safe pedestrian:
• Be alert! Put down your electronic devices! Any distractions prevent you from using all of your senses, which could result in an accident. Always look left, right, and left again when crossing the street.
• Always use sidewalks and paths when they are present. If there is not a sidewalk on a street, walk facing traffic on the edge of the road and stay as far from the travel lane as possible. Cross at street corners and designated crosswalks. Use pedestrian push buttons and follow traffic and pedestrian signals.
• Talk to children about how to be safe while walking. Instruct them to always listen to crossing guards at their school. Children under 10 should be accompanied in parking lots and streets.
• Make eye contact with drivers and watch for cars that are turning at intersections.
• Watch for cars or trucks backing out of parking lots, driveways, and alleyways.
• Wear reflective, bright colored clothing or carry a flashlight during nighttime or bad weather.
• Be ready! Pedestrians have more at stake than motorists, so you should be prepared in case an unexpected event happens.
While some of these simple tips may seem obvious, many pedestrians are guilty of not following them. It is important to review the basics, especially with children, because these everyday actions are vital to your safety. Stay safe and enjoy the nice weather!