Recently, a five-year-old boy was hit by a pick-up truck when he ran across the drop-off lane in front of his elementary school. The pick-up truck was moving forward slowly when the boy ran into the side of the vehicle, falling down. The boy then suffered cuts to his knee when one of the truck tires scraped against his leg. Luckily, the boy was not more seriously injured, but the incident is a reminder of the importance of good pedestrian safety skills. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 16 of the 77 traffic deaths in Oklahoma City in 2013 were pedestrians. Here are some important things to remember when you or your child is a pedestrian:
- Walk on a sidewalk when one is available. When no sidewalk is available, walk as close to the edge of the road as possible while facing traffic.
- When possible, cross at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers are more likely to expect pedestrians to cross.
- Teach your children to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street. Teach them to only cross when it is safe to do so and not to run across the street, trying to beat a vehicle. Model this behavior for your children.
- Do not assume drivers will see you. They could be distracted, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or otherwise unable to see you, especially if you are not crossing at a crosswalk.
- Make yourself easily visible, particularly if crossing the street at night or when visibility is impaired. Bright colors can make you more visible. At night, wear reflectors or use a flashlight to make yourself easier to see.
- Do not allow younger children to cross the road on their own. Younger children cannot adequately judge speed and distance of vehicles. Although children develop at different rates, generally those under 10 should cross the street with an adult.
Unfortunately, not all drivers watch for pedestrians. They may speed or not stop for you or your child, even when you have the right-of-way. If you or your child was hit by a vehicle while walking, contact us right away. A personal injury attorney will discuss your individual case with you, helping you to understand your rights.