Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Pedestrian Safety Part II: Drivers and Pedestrians share responsibility

It’s Pedestrian Safety month and last week we discussed the rights that pedestrians have. This week we are going to look at how it is up to both drivers and pedestrians to help prevent tragedies.

Drivers:  Please follow these tips from pedbikeinfo.org so you can minimize the risk of hitting a pedestrian.

Watch for pedestrians at all times:
  • Continuously scan ahead and along the sides of roads for possible pedestrians. It is possible that they may not see you and dart into the road. Be alert and prepared for anything.
  • Before turning, look in every direction for pedestrians who could be crossing or coming up the road.
  • Ditch the distractions while driving. This includes using your cell phone, messing with the radio and even eating.
  • Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs. If you take prescription medication that affect how you drive, it is best to avoid getting behind the wheel.
  • Make sure you can see at all times by keeping your windows and windshield clear and your headlights on—  especially when driving at night.

At crosswalks pedestrians have the right of way:
  • Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, even if they aren’t marked, and when turning into an intersection.
  • Don’t block or park on crosswalks.

Be Patient:
  • Drive the speed limit and avoid aggressive driving behaviors such as passing a vehicle that is already stopped for pedestrians.
  • Stop at all STOP signs
  • If children are playing along the street or if there are older pedestrians in the area, use extra caution. They may not see you.
  • Always be prepared to stop.

Pedestrians: You are vulnerable to serious injury if you are struck by a vehicle. Be responsible for your safety and follow these tips to ensure you stay safe:
  • When possible, cross the street at marked crosswalks or intersections and obey the WALK/DON’T WALK signs.
  • Watch for vehicles that may be turning and make sure the driver sees you.
  • Don’t assume all motorists will stop. Look across all lanes that you are attempting to cross and clear each lane before proceeding.
  • Don’t walk distracted. Wearing headphones and talking while crossing the street can be dangerous.
  • Be bright. Be seen. Wear bright or light-colored clothing and reflective materials — even in the daytime.
  • Carry a flashlight and cross streets in well-lit areas at night.
  • Before crossing, make sure you are clear of busses, bushes, parked vehicles and other obstacles so you can be seen by drivers.
  • Pedestrians should walk on the sidewalk. If no sidewalk is present, walk facing traffic as far away from moving vehicles as possible.
  • Don’t assume the driver can see you. Make eye contact with the driver and don’t cross until you are sure they have seen you.
  • When crossing the street, look left, right and left again before crossing the street, even if the pedestrian signals tell you it’s okay to cross.
  • When walking behind parked vehicles, use your eyes and ears to make sure you stay safe. If the backup lights are on, or if you hear the engine running, avoid walking behind the vehicle.
At some point we are all pedestrians, and by practicing patience and being alert, we can all help avoid pedestrian-related fatalities.  Next week we will discuss the increasing dangers of parking garages and lots.

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