New Jersey experiences a disproportionate number of pedestrian related crashes and fatalities compared to the nation as a whole. It is New Jersey law that motorists must stop for pedestrians in marked crosswalks; however, pedestrians also need to know how to be safe whenever and wherever they walk. Keep in mind that most pedestrian (and bicyclist) fatalities occur in cities, locations that are not intersections, and at night.
Teach Children To:
- – Always cross the street at corners and in a crosswalk–never between parked cars
- – Wear bright colored clothing or a piece of reflective material on your clothing
- – Look left, right and left again before crossing the street
- – Always walk facing traffic
- – Obey the Walk/Don’t Walk signals
- – Make eye contact with drivers before crossing
Preschoolers are especially vulnerable to the dangers on our streets and parking lots. Their brains are not developed to the extent necessary to realize traffic-related dangers in terms of speed, distance and size.
Key messages for Pre-School Pedestrians
1. Streets are for cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles and other motor vehicles.
2. Sounds made by vehicles on the street like horns, trucks, buses, motorcycles, car starting, moving or stopping, screeching tires and sirens are all warnings about what is happening on the street.
3. Cars and other motor vehicles are bigger than us and can hurt us; sometimes drivers can’t see us because of the differences in the sizes and the obstacles in their field of vision.
School Aged Pedestrians (under age 10)
Once a child begins kindergarten and begins to develop some independence it is important to teach them about safe walking wherever they go.
Key messages for School Aged Pedestrians
1. Children need to associate driveways with cars and learn to stop and check a driveway before continuing on a sidewalk.
2. Children need to be able to distinguish when it is safe to play on the driveway from when it is not safe.
3. All children under the age of 10 need to hold an adults hand when crossing the street.
4. Always obey the crossing guard.
5. Use the “buddy” system.
Tweens and Teens
Whether listening to music with headsets, talking or texting on the phone, or searching the internet on a tablet, tweens and teens have more distractions while walking than ever before.
Key messages for Tweens and Teens
1. Pay special attention to cars in intersections.
2. There is safety in walking in groups.
3. Put the distractions away when you are a pedestrian. Don’t walk while texting or talking on the phone.