According to Safe Kids Worldwide, there are five fatal teen pedestrian accidents in the United States each week. There also has been a 13 percent increase in the pedestrian death rate for those ages 12 to 19 since 2013.
The statistics may be grim, but there is still hope for improvement. With awareness programs, we can help teens to be safer as pedestrians at crosswalks and busy L.A. intersections.
Below are seven common ways pedestrian accidents can happen, and advice for how to keep your teens safe. Safe Kids Worldwide also provides an interactive infographic called “Don’t Get Hit by a Car” that you can share with your teens.
- Walking while distracted by phones or headphones – 1 in 4 high school students and 1 in 6 middle school students crosses the street while distracted. When walking, teens should keep their phones down and heads up, especially at crosswalks.
- Crossing in the middle of the block – Crossing somewhere other than an intersection causes 76 percent of pedestrian fatalities. Emphasize to teens the importance of taking the extra time to cross at the corner.
- Walking at night in dark clothes – 70 percent of teen pedestrian deaths occur between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. Tell your teens to be especially alert when it is dark out, and to make sure vehicles can see you walking on or crossing the street.
- Not watching out for careless or distracted drivers – Remind your teens to look left, right and left again and to continue to be alert while crossing the street.
- Walking in the road – Whenever possible, teens should walk on sidewalks or paths rather than the street. If this isn’t an option, walk on the side facing traffic and get as far away from vehicles as possible.
- Not watching for cars that are backing up – Teens should continuously look left and right when walking in parking lots or near driveways.
- Not looking out for a second car – Tell your teens to pause at each lane of traffic to look for additional vehicles on the road. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing.