In 2009, 16 percent of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. were among people age 65 and older, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The elderly are more susceptible to injury and death as pedestrians because many of them tend to have more limited eyesight, hearing and mobility. Many seniors on foot also exhibit slower judgment in avoiding approaching vehicles. In addition, countdown clocks at major crosswalks are timed for the average adult, but many seniors need more time to cross safely.
Although older people are at highest risk while on foot around motor vehicles, the following can help them prevent accidents
Senior Safety as Pedestrians
- Be seen – Wear bright or reflective clothing so drivers can more readily see you.
- Walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
- Before crossing a street, alley or road, look left and right and all around for cars, then repeat.
- Watch for backing vehicles from driveways and alleys and in parking lots.
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
- Avoid walking in the dark or during bad weather – 70 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur between 4 p.m. and 4 a.m.
- Walk in groups for greater visibility and so you can look out for each other.
- Slow down when approaching pedestrians, intersections and crosswalks.
- Do not drink and drive.
- Check rearview and side mirrors carefully when backing up.
- Pay attention to sun glare and other visual obstructions.
- In bad weather, apply the brakes sooner when stopping for a pedestrian.
- Make eye contact with pedestrians before entering a crosswalk.