Crossing the street is a dangerous activity for children. Even when they look both ways and take extra care, they are unable to accurately judge distances and speeds of fast-moving vehicles. But it’s not just children who are at a high risk of being injured in a pedestrian accident. Teenagers are often unaware of pedestrian safety and that increases the risk of an injury or fatality. According to the website, Safe Kids, teenagers are some of the highest at-risk categories for pedestrian injuries.
One of the reasons for those high accident numbers involving teenage pedestrians is distractions while walking. A growing number of studies find that distracted pedestrians are increasingly at risk of accidents, and many of those pedestrians tend to be teenagers. Teens are heavy consumers of smartphone technology and social media. Walking while texting or using a smart phone is dangerous. A distracted teenager is much less likely to hear an approaching car and is more likely to disregard traffic signs.
Parents of teenagers should ensure that their children know how to walk safely, and not just drive safely. A child should never use a cell phone while walking, and if he or she needs to use a cell phone, they must first find some place safe where he can stop and use the device.
The use of headphones while walking is another major pedestrian accident risk for teenagers. Discourage the use of headphones as much as possible, and tell your child not to use headphones while crossing the street. Teenagers must cross only at marked and designated crosswalks or according to traffic signals.
Find a sidewalk to walk on, and if there are no sidewalks, walk in the direction of oncoming traffic. The old methods of crossing the street- looking left, then right and then left again- are still as relevant for safety today as when they were first developed. Teenagers must never run out into traffic or cross between parked cars.
Failure to convey your intentions to a driver is another accident risk. Maintain eye contact with a motorist when you are crossing in front of him, so that the motorist knows of your intentions. Teenagers must also watch out for cars that are backing up, and must avoid loitering around or behind parked cars.
Statistics reveal that a teen pedestrian is involved in an injurious or fatal accident every hour. In 2012, 284 teenage pedestrians died in accidents. Another 10,000 pedestrians suffered injuries. Those statistics are distressing, but parents should play a big role in encouraging safe and responsible walking behavior among their teenagers.
If you were injured in a pedestrian accident, speak with one of the skilled Indiana accident lawyers at our firm.