What You Can Do as a Driver and Pedestrian to Improve Pedestrian SafetyApril 16, 2013 | in Defensive Driving Tips
Walking is a great way to get from one place to another. You can burn some calories, enjoy the fresh air, and even save some money on gas. However, the safety of pedestrians is a serious concern. According to the FiA Foundation, thousands of innocent people are getting killed every day by simply choosing to walk to their destination. Many of these people are children on their way to school. While these accidents are often the fault of the drivers, sometimes the pedestrians are to blame as well.
What can I do as a driver to keep pedestrians safe?
First and foremost, you can drive defensively. Have both hands on the wheel and always keep your eyes on the road. Pedestrians can easily appear when you least expect them to, and you need to be able to respond quickly. When something distracts you, like a cell phone or the radio, your car probably swerves a little bit. While this little swerve is oftentimes no big deal, it can prove detrimental if there is a pedestrian in your midst.
Second, you should ALWAYS stop behind the white line at a crosswalk. It can be especially tempting to simply slow down when making a right-hand turn, but there may be a pedestrian that you cannot see because of the car next to you. For more tips on how to drive defensively to avoid pedestrians, check out our defensive driving course.
What if I am the pedestrian?
If you are the one doing your part to save the planet by choosing to walk to your destination, good for you! However, there are still rules of the road that you need to follow. Always use sidewalks and crosswalks when they are available. This may seem obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people walk on the road when there is a sidewalk right next to them. It is called a sidewalk for a reason, walk on it.
When using a crosswalk, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration adds that you should continually check for traffic around you as you cross. Do not assume that every car will stop for you. Make contact with each car’s driver before you proceed to walk in front of them.
If you are walking in the dark, wear light-colored clothing with reflectors. If you do not have any reflective clothing, always carry a flashlight with you so that drivers can see you.
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