Because we are all pedestrians at some point, pedestrian safety should be at the forefront of our minds. Unfortunately, pedestrian accidents occur frequently, causing serious injuries and even death. In fact, according to statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one pedestrian injury occurs every seven minutes and one pedestrian death happens every two hours.
While everyone is at risk for being injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, older adults are most at risk. According to the NHTSA, pedestrians 65 years of age and older accounted for 11 percent of pedestrian injuries and 19 percent of pedestrian deaths in 2010. Data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System–All Injury Program revealed that an estimated 52,482 adults ages 65 and older were treated for non-fatal pedestrian injuries in emergency departments every year between 2001 and 2006.
Dangers to Elderly Pedestrians
Many older adults have mobility issues, poor reflexes, and balance problems that cause them to walk more slowly, putting them at risk of being hurt in a pedestrian accident. Additionally, older adults may have stiff joints and muscles as well as flexibility issues that prevent them from turning their heads to look for cars and traffic—also increasing their chances of being in a pedestrian accident.
Walking Is Still Good for Seniors
Still, walking is a great way for older adults to stay healthy. By incorporating a walking program into their routines, seniors can increase their balance, flexibility, strength, and endurance—all things that can help lower the risk of being involved in a pedestrian accident.
Motorists need to keep in mind that elderly pedestrians may need a little extra time to cross the street safely or to navigate a parking lot; slowing down, using extra caution, and exercising patience will go a long way towards helping to keep pedestrians safe.
Do you want to learn what to do after being hurt in a pedestrian accident? Request a free copy of our book The Florida Accident Handbook: What You Need to Know After an Auto, Truck, or Bike Accident or reach out to us using our online contact form.