On the 14th to the 20th of November, we supported Road Safety Week, with the theme of ‘SAFE ROADS FOR ALL’. The biggest takeaway from this is knowing that every accident is avoidable and preventable.
One major cause of roadway accidents is those involving pedestrians, but yet these are also preventable. Many pedestrians may believe that drivers can see them and will stop, however, studies show that drivers may not react in time due to dangerous road conditions, potential distractions or heavy traffic.
The reality is that pedestrian injuries and fatalities remain extremely high, with 55,000 injured nationwide in 2020. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 92% of pedestrian deaths in vehicle crashes can be attributed to events involving fleets.
Exploring how drivers can be more cautious when it comes to pedestrian safety can ensure the prevention of roadway accidents.
Drivers should be aware of the vulnerable before getting behind the wheel and areas or situations that could increase the risk of accidents, such as heavily built-up areas with lots of foot traffic, adverse weather conditions or poor lighting due to early nightfall in the winter months.
The vulnerable include but are not limited to, elderly citizens who may have slower reaction times, take a while to cross the road or have impaired sight or hearing that could affect their ability to recognise oncoming traffic. As well as pedestrians under the influence of alcohol or drugs, who may be unaware of their surroundings, young children who are still learning the rules of the road and may be at a height where they cannot see oncoming traffic.
There are fundamental rules that drivers should be aware of when passing through places where there are pedestrians, these are:
- Do not use mobile phones/electronic devices while driving
- Be cautious when driving at night or in bad weather
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Avoid driving while tired
- Slow and steady while in adverse weather
- No passing stopped vehicles are at crosswalks
- Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks
- Be aware of blind spots
- Exercise caution when making turns
- Use eye contact and hand signalling with pedestrians
- Practice cautious reversing
Remember, everyone has been a pedestrian at one time or another, so when drivers take these rules and facts into consideration, they create a safer road environment for everyone.