Pedestrian safety

Whether you or your kids are walking to school, the park or a friend’s house, here are a few simple tips to make sure everyone gets there safely.

Pedestrian basics

Starting when they’re young, teach your children these pedestrian safety guidelines:

  • It’s always safest to walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Most injuries happen midblock or someplace other than intersections. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic and as far away from vehicles as possible. Put down devices, including headphones.
  • Look left, right and left again when crossing the street.
  • Make eye contact with all nearby drivers before walking into the street.
  • Watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
  • Do not run or dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.

Let your actions speak as loudly as your words

  • Set a good example by putting devices down when you are driving or walking around cars. If we put our devices down, our kids are more likely to do the same.
  • Children under age 10 should cross the street with an adult. Although every child is different, most kids find it hard to judge the speed and distance of cars until about age 10.

Drive with extra care

  • When driving, be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones. Be on the lookout for bikers, walkers or runners who may be distracted or may step into the street unexpectedly.
  • Give pedestrians the right of way and look both ways when making a turn to help spot any bikers, walkers or runners who may not be immediately visible.
  • When driving, put cellphones and other distractions in the back seat or out of sight until you arrive at your destination.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.

Take action against distraction

  • Teach kids to look up and pay extra attention when using headphones, cellphones or electronic devices such as tablet computers or handheld games. It is particularly important to reinforce this message with your teenagers.
  • Make it a rule to put devices down when crossing the street.
  • Tell kids to pull down headphones or turn off the volume before crossing the street.
  • Teach kids to stop walking and find a safe area to talk if they need to use a cellphone.
  • Be aware of others who are distracted — and speak up when you see someone whose distraction may put them in danger.
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