Walking is an important form of transportation for the elderly. It is more affordable than owning a car and provides significant health benefits as a way to ensure regular physical activity. However, older people face several obstacles as pedestrians. Vision and hearing decrease as we age, so older people are more likely to overlook crosswalk safety signs. The elderly are also prone to accidental falls, which can result in death or serious injury if they occur near oncoming traffic. Poorly maintained streets and sidewalks can complicate the problem for pedestrians especially those who use walkers or canes.
Safety Tips for Elderly Pedestrians
Whether you are picking up groceries from the market or visiting friends, you can stay safe by remembering these important tips.
- Walk with friends when possible, its good to have another to help monitor road conditions or provide assistance. Walking in a group also makes you more visible to drivers.
- Minimize distractions by avoiding listening to music or using a cell phone while walking. Distracted walking can be just as dangerous as distracted driving!
- Use extra care when walking in poor weather conditions. You are more likely to fall when visibility is poor. Drivers will also have more difficulty seeing you in the crosswalks.
- Do not walk if you feel ill.
- Wear reflective clothing to increase your visibility to drivers, especially if you plan to be walking during the evening or early morning hours. Many jackets and shirts these days have reflective strips but safety vests can be the most affordable type of protective gear for pedestrians.
- If possible, travel along routes with well maintained sidewalks, proper lighting, and benches that will allow you to rest if needed.
- When you are in a crosswalk, pay extra attention to drivers who are making turns. Drivers planning to turn are often more focused on avoiding other vehicles than watching for pedestrians.
Laws Concerning Pedestrians
Crosswalks are implied at all intersections, even if they are not officially marked. However, marked crosswalks are considered the safest option for pedestrians.
When in the intersection,pedestrians have the right way. But it illegal to “leave a place of safety” (ie the sidewalk) to enter a crosswalk if a car presents a danger. Pedestrians do not have the right of way at other locations along the road. Of course, you should not rely on being legally correct to keep you safe. Many pedestrians are killed in accidents where they had the right of way.
Protecting Your Legal Rights
A personal injury lawyer can protect the rights of pedestrians who have been injured in accidents caused by negligent drivers. Please call (208) 386-9119 or toll-free at (888) 490-0992 for a free consultation from the attorneys at Holzer Edwards.