While all people are at risk of being involved in pedestrian accidents while crossing the street, young children and the elderly are especially at risk.
In fact, older adults account for around 13 percent of pedestrian injuries and 19 percent of all pedestrian deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In order to keep yourself safe or to prevent an elderly loved one from being involved in a pedestrian accident, it’s important to understand why older adults are more likely to be hit by cars.
Why are so many elderly adults involved in pedestrian accidents?
A significant percentage of elderly men and women have physical ailments or disabilities that make it difficult to walk, much less run. While a younger person who notices that a vehicle isn’t stopping may be able to get out of the way quickly, an elderly person in the same situation may not have the same ability.
Additionally, the number of older adults who are involved in pedestrian accidents is increasing because people are living longer and a large percentage of the U.S. population is getting older. In the coming years, as millions of baby boomers continue to age, a greater portion of the population will be considered elderly which will likely account for an even greater increase in the number of elderly pedestrian accidents.
What can you do to prevent accidents?
Older adults should always cross the street at crosswalks. If they are unable to cross in the given amount of time, it’s a good idea to use a wheelchair or other medical device to ensure they are able to cross the road before a signal changes.
Additionally, regardless of age, anyone who is walking or planning to cross the street in congested traffic areas and intersections should wear reflective or brightly colored clothing. Doing so helps an individual stand out and be seen by drivers so, if necessary, they can slow down or stop.
It’s also incredibly important that pedestrians of all ages obey and respect traffic laws. Whenever possible, pedestrians should only cross the road at intersections and used marked crosswalks. Additionally, it’s important to only cross when the walk signal is illuminated and to never assume that the driver of a turning or approaching vehicle sees or will stop for you.