Walk the Walk … Safely

When comparing all forms of transport, pedestrians are the most vulnerable on the road. Unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury-related death in the United States for children ages 5 to 19. Teen pedestrians are more likely to be treated in hospitals for crash-related injuries than other age groups. Before your family heads out on foot, keep safety in mind.

• Use designated crosswalks or intersections.

• Obey traffic signals.

• Follow signs even when no vehicle is in sight. It only takes seconds for a vehicle or bike to cause damage. If no traffic signal is available, stand clear of obstacles so drivers can see you, look both ways before crossing and make eye contact with motorists even when they’re stopped. Never assume that vehicles see you or will stop.

• It’s safest to walk on a sidewalk, but when unavailable, walk on the shoulder and face traffic.

• Carry a flashlight or wear retro-reflective clothing to increase your visibility. Look for well-lit areas when walking at night.

• Children under 10 years developmentally always need to cross the street with an adult.

• Adults serve as role models for safety behaviors. Set a good example by putting your phone, headphones and devices down when walking around cars.