The Insider's Guide to Healthy Hawaii: Celebrating Pedestrian Safety

Stay alert while walking and driving on Hawaii's streets.

Medically reviewed in February 2022

About 10 years ago, Hawaii was ranked number one in the nation for pedestrian deaths per capita of seniors 63 years and older. The number one reason for pedestrian accidents and fatalities is inattentive behavior on both the part of the driver and the walker. We’re simply not paying attention to each other. Most pedestrian fatalities occur during the early morning and late night hours when visibility is low or non-existent. We aren’t number one anymore, but we haven’t eliminated pedestrian fatalities. Today, senior crashes represent only 30 percent of all pedestrian crashes.

The Hawaii State Department of Transportation’s Walk Wise Hawaii pedestrian safety education and awareness campaign works with community groups to teach the public about good pedestrian behavior and raise driver awareness. It’s important for pedestrians to wear bright and reflective clothing at night. Whether you’re walking your dog, taking a stroll to get healthy, or running down the street to get some milk, always wear something that can be seen easily by drivers. Walk Wise Hawaii recommends reflective safety vests, attachable blinking lights or any type of reflective item you can wear or hold.

In addition, Walk Wise Hawaii asks that pedestrians always look left and right, then left again, and pay attention while crossing the street. We urge walkers to never take it for granted that they’re safe in a crosswalk. There’s no invisible force field around the crosswalk that’s going to stop a distracted driver.

This year, Walk Wise Hawaii introduced its Drive Wise Hawaii brochure, which serves as a counter point to its Seven Steps to Safety brochure. For each pedestrian tip, the new brochure shows the driver’s perspective and what they should be looking out for.

Drivers should remember that pedestrians can be hidden from view by neighboring stopped vehicles on multi-lane streets. So, the next time you see a car stopped—especially at a crosswalk­­—slow down and see what’s behind that car.

The Walk Wise Hawaii program offers complimentary presentations to groups of all ages.

This content originally appeared on Well-Being Hawaii.

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