Pedestrian Education

DRIVE SMART COLORADO has participated in many programs aimed at reducing injuries and fatalities of pedestrians.  While many of the resources contained here are geared for a younger person, there is also information that focuses on elderly adults, and a special “subset” of pedestrians that choose to walk while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.  This is a growing problem and major cause of injuries and fatalities of pedestrians.  You may find some of the information useful in your own community.

Distracted Walking

Here is helpful information from Loyola University Health System: 


Walking in Traffic

Protect yourself and your family by doing these things:

Walk on the Sidewalk

Stay on the sidewalk and crosswalks. Avoid walking in traffic where there are no sidewalks or crosswalks.
If you have to walk on a road that does not have sidewalks, walk facing traffic. 

Cross at Intersections

Most people are hit by cars when they cross the road at places other than intersections. 

Look left, right, and left for traffic

Stop at the curb and look left, right, and left again for traffic. Stopping at the curb signals drivers
that you intend to cross. Cross in marked crosswalks and obey the signal.

See and Be Seen

Drivers need to see you to avoid you. 

Stay out of the driver’s blind spot. 

Make eye contact with drivers when crossing busy streets. 

Wear bright colors or reflective clothing if you are walking near traffic at night. Carry a flashlight when walking in the dark. 

Do not let kids play near traffic or cross the street by themselves. Kids are small, and drivers may not see them if they run into the street. 

Watch your kids

Children should not cross streets by themselves or be allowed to play or walk near traffic. Kids are small, unpredictable, and cannot judge vehicle distances and speeds. 

When kids get older, teach them three things to do before they cross the street: 

Try to cross at a corner with a traffic light. 

Stop at the curb. 

Look left, right, then left again to make sure no cars are coming. 

Road Safety for Elderly Pedestrians

Senior citizens (persons age 65 and over) comprise 13 percent of the population, but account for 23 percent of all pedestrian fatalities – meaning that seniors are almost twice as likely to be killed by an automobile as members of the general public. As a group, senior citizens are particularly dependent on safe streets for walking because many of them no longer drive.

Most elderly pedestrian fatalities result from inattention or carelessness, medical conditions or the effects of medication. Therefore it is important that elderly pedestrians take street crossing seriously and appreciate the dangers. It is important for elderly pedestrians to appreciate that there is a very serious risk posed even if they are hit by a relatively small vehicle. Although most elderly pedestrian fatalities occur during the daytime, it is important to note that evening pedestrian incidents often involve alcohol on the part of the pedestrian. Thus elderly pedestrians should be particularly careful not to get too intoxicated if they are going to be walking near traffic.

Because peripheral vision diminishes as people get older, reflexes slow and the ability to move quickly and in an agile manner decrease, it can take longer to cross road and, it is harder to deal with situations that require prompt evasive action. Also, because eyesight and hearing often become less acute the judgment of traffic distance and speed can become less accurate. Therefore, elderly pedestrians should allow themselves plenty of time to cross the road. They should make eye contact with drivers if possible to ensure that they are noticed. They should use marked crossings if possible. Also it is important to stop before crossing the road so as to allow time to check for traffic and make appropriate decisions.

Impaired Pedestrians

Everyone knows that you should not drive impaired, but what many people may not know is that excessive drinking can have the same deadly consequences for pedestrians. Almost one-third of all pedestrians who die in traffic-related crashes are intoxicated, and alcohol involvement either for the driver or for the pedestrian is reported in nearly one-half of all pedestrian fatalities. The majority of these crashes involves males and occur at night, especially on weekends. As compared to sober pedestrians, alcohol-impaired pedestrians frequently cross the roadway from unexpected locations. Here is lifesaving information for motorists and pedestrians. 

If You Are a Motorist

Do not drive impaired. It slows your reaction time, impairs your judgment, and affects your alertness and coordination. 

When you drive, particularly at night around populated areas, watch for sudden, unexpected movements by pedestrians. Scan the road widely and often, and prepare for the unexpected. Slow down! 

If you know someone who has been drinking and is planning to walk, call them a cab or offer to drive or escort them, even if it is only a short distance.

If You Are a Pedestrian

Remember that alcohol affects your balance, impairs your judgment, and reduces your alertness and coordination. It can also affect your vision. 

Limit how much alcohol you consume, especially if you plan to walk. Do not fool yourself about your ability to walk in traffic safely. 

Be more visible to traffic by carrying a flashlight or wearing retro-reflective clothing at night. During the day, wearing fluorescent colors is best. Wearing white, especially at night, is not enough. 

If you know someone who has been drinking and is planning to walk, offer to call them a cab or escort them, even if it is only for a short distance. 

The Safe Routes to School video was created to educate parents that they are the cause of most of the problems around the schools during drop off and pick up times!

The pedestrian safety videos were created to educate the younger citizen about how to be safer when walking and biking.  

The Signs for Life video was created as an awareness tool for the students to learn to navigate the streets they use daily, and will use more as they get closer to driving age.  

To view these videos visit our video section.   For internet resources, visit our Resource site.