According to studies conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one-in-ten pedestrians on the sidewalks or streets at any given time in America will be someone over the age of 65. However, about 20% of all pedestrian fatalities involve this same age group. The information shows that elders are disproportionately more likely to be struck by vehicles, either due to their own mistakes or the negligence of the driver.
Here in Florida, more than 17% of people are 65 years of age or older. This is the highest percentage of any state in the nation, and so it goes to say that there is a higher likelihood that a driver will crash into an elderly person. To help keep everyone as safe as can be, our legal professionals here at Mitchell & West LLC have created a comprehensive list of smart safety tips for elderly pedestrians to keep in mind when they go for a walk. Of course, if you have been hurt by a negligent driver already, you can contact our Miami personal injury lawyers today or set up a case evaluation online.
Top 7 Safety Tips for Elderly Pedestrians
- Give yourself time to cross: The majority of all accidents, whether they involve a car or a pedestrian, occur at intersections. When you need to cross one, do not be hasty and enter the crosswalk after a walk signal has already begun. Instead, wait for the traffic signals to cycle again and begin when the walk signal is new.
- Be visible: When we say that an elderly pedestrian needs to be visible, we are not just talking about wearing bright or reflective clothing. You should also bring a flashlight during the afternoon, avoid going for a walk when it is dark out, and hold up one hand when crossing the street to make yourself larger in a driver’s field of view. Don’t forget to also make contact with any and all drivers you need to cross in front of.
- Buddy system: The more pedestrians in a group, the more likely they are to be seen by motorists. Take your walks with a friend or two to increase visibility even more. If you are walking alone, see if you can reasonably wait at a street corner for another group of friendly pedestrians before crossing.
- Stay stable: If you use a walking stick or cane around the house, you should definitely be using one when you are out and about. After a rain or cold weather, bring one regardless of how confident you are in your walking ability. You should also make certain you are using good footwear that resists slipping and is easy for you to walk in.
- Parking lot etiquette: In a parking lot, any vehicle can roll back out of its spot with little to no warning, and all the cars around it will probably block the driver’s line of sight. Try to use a path with as little obstructions as possible and listen for idling engines as you approach a vehicle. If you hear it rumbling, move away or establish eye contact with the driver.
- Left-right-left: No one should be stepping into the street without first looking left, looking right, and then looking left again. This allows you to take ample to time to assess if someone is coming and the head movement signifies to drivers that you want to cross. This technique should also be used on one-way streets.
- Use the crosswalk: Most of the streets in Florida’s cities have painted crosswalks at each intersection. Unless absolutely necessarily, you should never cross any street without these indications, even when there is no traffic in sight.