Car crashes are a sad fact of everyday life, but when a car or truck makes contact with a pedestrian, although it’s still deemed a motor vehicle accident, the outcome is usually devastating for the pedestrian involved. The fact is that attitudes and actions on the parts of both drivers and pedestrians add to the threat of more collisions but there is also lack of knowledge about the rules and an unwillingness to obey them.
What are some practical things both drivers and walkers can do to increase their chances for staying away from accidents? Since we must try to peaceably co-exist, these tips can work as a refresher course to increase our awareness:
Tips for Pedestrians
Walk on the SidewalkMost pedestrian fatalities occur on major roads with no sidewalk so avoid walking on them as much as possible.
Walk Facing Traffic: When you have to walk in the street because there is no sidewalk available, walk facing the traffic – on the left side of the street. This might seem counter-intuitive but experts say that both you and the approaching driver will have a better chance of seeing each other if you do.
Cross at Intersections: Another major danger of being hit by cars is when people cross in places other than intersections on the road.
Stop and Look Both Ways: When you stop at a curb, it alerts drivers that you are about to cross – don’t just keep walking. Always look left, right, and then left again before you cross.
Make Eye Contact: When you are about to cross the street in front of a car, look at the driver and make eye contact. If you don’t there’s a good chance the driver doesn’t see you. Avoid standing in the blind spot of the driver and if it’s getting dark out, wear bright colours or carry a flashlight
Tips for Drivers
Yield When Pedestrians Cross the Street: Some may be crossing on a crosswalk or intersection, but pay special attention when there are no such crossing facilities available.
Watch for Stopped Vehicles: Do not stop or overtake a vehicle simply because it’s stopped in front of you. Chances are the car is waiting for a pedestrian to cross in front of it, putting you on a path for trouble. This holds true for ice cream trucks and buses.
Increase Your Eye Scanning: Don’t just pay attention to the cars around you but increase your scanning for possible pedestrian and bike traffic. To help in this effort, keep your windshield clean so you can see everything going on around your car.
Watch Out for Children: Young children have very little awareness of where sounds are coming from and don’t have the focus and attention needed to navigate around traffic. When children are present drive slowly and carefully.
Slow Down: If you hit a pedestrian going 40 mph, chances are slim that the person will survive the accident. If pedestrians are present, keep the speed as low as possible.