Avoid a Hit-and-Run: Pedestrian Safety Tips for You and Your Family
By Francesca Cazzulino, CPST, Health Education Associate I-Trauma Program
Keeping your children safe as pedestrians in traffic is always a concern. During the fall and winter, it’ll gets dark earlier in the day and will for some time until spring. Driving when it’s dark out can be disorienting for people. Even more, many drivers have somewhere to go and they usually want to get there fast. This often means that they aren’t looking around for pedestrians, especially those half the height of an average adult! Safety concerns are almost doubled when the sun sets and visibility is significantly reduced. Given the increased number of nighttime hit-and-runs in the media the Injury Prevention Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is offering a few great tips to help protect your children at night.
Wear Bright Colors
Remember, when you are a pedestrian at night the last thing you want to do is blend in. By wearing bright colors that easily reflect light, such as white or yellow, you will stand out and become far more visible to drivers. This can also be accomplished by wearing reflectors often found on bicycles, helmets and reflective vests. Reflectors can make you visible in a car’s headlights for up to 500 feet!
Stay off the Road
Drivers expect pedestrians to be on sidewalks and in crosswalks, which is where they should stay. This is especially important at night. If there is no sidewalk available, it’s recommended to avoid those roads entirely. If that’s not possible, walk against traffic and as close to the edge of the road as possible. Walking against traffic allows you to see oncoming cars that may not necessarily see you and your child.
Always Be Alert
Being a safe pedestrian means having a strong defense. Constantly remain aware of cars backing out of driveways, pulling into driveways, making turns and pulling over to the side of the road. Never cross between parked cars and of course never dart out into the street. Lead by example and teach your kids safety, so that your children learn to be cautious and alert pedestrians.
Remember the Basics
Before crossing the street, even small roads, always look left, right and then left again. Saying this verbally with your children every time you cross the street is a good way to education them on these safe practices during their childhood. Holding hands while crossing is especially important for younger children. A friendly reminder, crossing the street means walking NOT running.