Teens are notorious for seeking independence. They often want to do their own activities and find their own way to get to them. Before teens are able to legally drive, walking may be a typical mode of transportation. Although it is often safe for your teen to walk independently or with friends, your teen may need periodic reminders about how to walk safely to avoid being hit by a car.

When a pedestrian gets get by a car, he or she can sustain life-altering injuries. Although motorists should be looking for pedestrians, there are many who are in a hurry, who are distracted or who simply don’t bother to look. There are also many instances when drivers cannot see pedestrians until it is too late. Because there is no guarantee motorists will see or stop for your teen pedestrian, it is important that your teen knows how to avoid situations that could be risky as a pedestrian.

Common causes for crashes involving pedestrians

It is important to talk to your teen about some of the situations that can result in pedestrians being hit by cars. Five of the most common situations involving teen pedestrians include when:

  • A pedestrian darts out mid-block and a driver is unable to react in time
  • A driver makes a turn at an intersection and drives into the path of a pedestrian crossing the street
  • A driver backs out of a parking stall or driveway without looking back to see a pedestrian in the path of the vehicle
  • A driver is unable to see a pedestrian crossing in front of a bus or a stopped vehicle
  • A pedestrian walking or jogging along the incorrect side of a roadway does not detect that a vehicle is approaching, and the driver of the vehicle does not see the pedestrian

Safe walking habits to encourage

Once your teen understands some of the common situations that result in people being hit by cars, he or she may see the value in certain walking habits. Remind your teen to:

  • Walk on sidewalks when they are available
  • Walk facing traffic when a sidewalk is not available
  • Cross at crosswalks or intersections when possible
  • Look left, right and left again before crossing the street
  • Yield to each lane of traffic to make sure each vehicle sees your teen crossing the street
  • Never chase a ball out into the street or engage in horseplay in the street
  • Look for vehicles backing up in parking lots and driveways

In general, teens should strive to be visible, predictable and alert when walking. This includes looking at the surroundings instead of a phone and listening to traffic instead of music. It also includes wearing bright clothing during the day and using a flashlight or reflective material at night.

An understanding of common causes for crashes involving pedestrians can help your teen make safe choices when walking. However, it can also help your teen be a more responsible motorist in the near future when he or she begins learning how to drive.

If your teen is severely injured because of the negligent actions of a motorist, it may be appropriate to take legal action. You may be able to receive compensation for your teen’s medical expenses and other costs associated with the injury.