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Why Children React Differently in Traffic

Pedestrian crossing with young children

In 2008, one in every five children between the ages of 5 and 9 who were killed in traffic crashes was a pedestrian

It is important to understand children’s limitations in understanding traffic.

  • Children have a narrower field of vision than adults, about 1/3 less.
  • Children cannot easily judge a car’s speed and distance.
  • Children cannot readily tell the direction a sound is coming from.
  • Children often concentrate on only one thing at a time. This is likely not to be traffic.

Hearing an approaching car is important for pedestrians. A recent study by University of Idaho in Accident Analysis & Prevention suggests that adults hear and detect a car significantly earlier than children.

The experiments showed that detecting and localizing a car varied significantly by age. Children as young as 6 and 7 years old lack the perceptual skills of even slightly older children to interpret important cues, such as engine and tire noises.

Adults detected the vehicle traveling at 5 miles per hour at a distance of about 48 feet, compared with 35 feet for younger children. This means that the vehicle was significantly closer to children than adults when it was detected.

These experiments did not include distractions that normally confront pedestrians, and especially young children.

Source: Accident Analysis & Prevention – Developmental differences in auditory detection and localization of approaching vehicles (Benjamin K. Barton, Roger Lew, Casey Kovesdi, Nicholas D. Cottrell, Thomas Ulrich).

Recommended reading: Kids in traffic – Unbiased news and research about road traffic safety.

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1 Comments

  1. helpful but dont rely on this to help you pass the written test the written test they like to ask questions that are in the handbook to see if you read what information that was provided in the handbook the questions asked on this practice test is very common sense questions and the real test is more precise about what it asks you i hope this gives you an understanding to not rely on how well you test on here that you can still take a written test and fail the real one only because if the real one were to be like this one what would be the point of going to the DMV or if you live in a state like mine the sheriffs office so once again i just want to make it clear read the handbook only with that can you be successful in your attempt to take the test and if your like me take the time to read over it more than once this well help you memorize whats in the handbook and thus make you more prepared for the real thing lastly if your using a celluar device that has some app option to download again its best to read from your book im posting this comment to help you guys out its frustrating when you fail at something i hope this helps

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