Pedestrian injuries and deaths are alarmingly high — especially among kids, teenagers and seniors. Today there are many mobile devices and related distractions to take into account as well. These devices can cancel some of the senses we use to keep us on guard. Teenagers may be watching their cell phones rather than the road or cyclists may be listening to music instead of keeping their ears open to detect dangers.

These distractions are here and more likely to increase. We need to teach kids to be extra careful and motorists should always be on the watch out for preoccupied pedestrians and cyclists. There are also the usual common sense solutions that can reduce accidents involving vehicles and people on foot or on bikes.

No doubt, pedestrians and cyclists are much more likely to suffer injuries or die in auto accidents than drivers and passengers. Figures from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that far too many people on foot or on bikes get injured or die as a result of road accidents. The fact is that most of these injuries and deaths can be prevented. Here are some tips and materials to help reduce these tragedies.

Tips for everyone

It is easier to preach than do the right things. Setting a good example is more important than telling what to do. Children learn by watching the adults in their lives. Plus, many adults are killed or hospitalized while crossing the road – making it that much more important to follow the rules especially when you are with young people. Here are some common guidelines:

1. Don’t try to cross the road and carry on using electronic devices at the same time. Put down your cell phone. They distract you and occupy your senses that should be used to assess the dangers around you.

2. Don’t wear headsets or take them off when you need to step on the road. Your eyes and ears are the best tools to keep you safe.

3. Always use signals and crosswalks where they are available. If not, wait for a long enough gap on both sides of traffic before attempting crossing. At night, look for a well-lit spot. Try to cross at street corners to see the road and traffic better if you are near one.

4. Look left, right and left again before crossing (in the UK and other countries where cars are driven on the left, look right, left and right again).

5. Walk calmly and keep looking as you cross. Don’t run.

6. Stay on the sidewalks and paths. If there are no sidewalks, face traffic so that you can see the cars coming on your side.

7. Never assume that drivers will give you way even when you are standing at a pedestrian crossing. Make eye contact with drivers of stopped or approaching cars before crossing in front of them.

8. Watch for automobiles that are turning or backing up. Stand away from parked vehicles so that drivers can
see you.

9. Avoid walking along highways and roads where pedestrians are prohibited.

10. Avoid alcohol consumption or long walks home after drinking alcohol. Nearly half of traffic crashes involving people walking are alcohol related. And 34% of incidents involved drunken pedestrians. You don’t have to be sober to walk on the streets. But alcohol impairs decision-making, physical reflexes and senses as much on foot as it does behind the wheel.