As the days shorten, the risks of getting into an accident with a pedestrian increase. Drivers have a legal obligation to practice safe driving skills around people who are on foot. The following are tips for drivers to help them safely share the road with pedestrians.
1. Avoid distractions
Distracted driving poses a danger both to other vehicles and pedestrians. Resist the temptation to glance at that text that just came through. Better yet, turn your phone off altogether. While it’s always important to give the road your full attention, you should be particularly vigilant when approaching an intersection or a traffic signal. Wait to change the music or talk to a passenger in the back seat until it’s safe to do so.
2. Keep a lookout
Always be on the lookout for pedestrians, especially where foot traffic is common. Extra vigilance is required in urban areas, parkways, and schools. Pay particular attention to where kids gather. Children are unpredictable and will often bolt into the street without giving traffic a second thought.
3. Look in all directions when making a turn
A person on foot may not always be directly in front of you. They might be crossing the street at the same time you’re making a turn. Look in every direction before you make a turn. Even if a pedestrian may not have the right of way, you still have an obligation to stop and to let them cross safely.
4. Turn your head around
Your parents may have had eyes in the back of their heads, but you probably do not. Always look behind your right shoulder when you’re backing up. Your side mirrors and rearview mirrors do not give you a full field of vision.
5. Don’t assume a pedestrian sees you
You would think a vehicle would be hard to miss, but you should never assume a pedestrian knows you’re there. They may be listening to music or simply daydreaming. If you see a pedestrian on the side of the road, reduce your speed, and be mindful.
By paying attention to pedestrians and practicing safe driving skills, you can help make the roadways safer for everyone this fall.