Everyone is a Pedestrian. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to transportation, but there’s one that all road users share—everyone is a pedestrian. Unfortunately, pedestrians were one of the groups of road users to experience an increase in fatalities in the United States in 2016, totaling 5,987 deaths.
We’re all pedestrians; we walk to the mailbox, from the parking lot to the store, to school, to meet up with friends, to walk the dog.
During your teen years, you are likely to be walking independently and to be exposed to traffic. Walking around traffic requires the same critical thinking skills as riding your bike and driving a car! Apply the same walking skills you learned as a kid: stop—look left-right-left for traffic and be safe, be seen. Use these skills when you walk, and encourage others to do the same!
Be Prepared Before Walking. Be seen—wear clothes or materials to make you more visible to others:
- Bright clothing
- Reflective gear
- Use lights at night or when visibility is poor (white in front, red in the rear – just like a car or bike)
- Plan your safest route—safer routes have less traffic, slower speeds, lighting, sidewalks, and, if possible, separate you from traffic (i.e., sidewalks, paths, a barrier).
- Follow the rules and laws put in place to increase your safety.
- Walk on sidewalks, if they’re there. If not, walk as far to the left, facing traffic.
- Look left-right-left and behind for traffic before crossing a driveway or road.
- Cross in marked crosswalks, at corners, or at intersections.
- Obey pedestrian crossing signals.
As a pre-driver or new driver, you have an opportunity to learn by watching traffic and how each road user (cars, bicycles and pedestrians) relates to one another. Discuss with an adult what you see.
The above information is from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The following document provides more information on pedestrian safety. Please click on it for the info-graphic.