Pedestrian collisions are projected to reach their highest level in 40 years. Since pedestrians do not have a vehicle or a seat belt to protect them, these collisions tend to be severe.
October is also National Pedestrian Safety Month, and we have represented numerous pedestrians who have been injured by motorists. That’s why we’ve decided to provide some tips and reminders for drivers to help them avoid pedestrian collisions.
Drive Slowly in Pedestrian Areas
When driving in an area with many pedestrians, try to take it slow. Pedestrians can be unpredictable and don’t signal their intentions like vehicles do. Driving slowly will allow you more time to react should a pedestrian decide to cross your path without warning.
Make Eye Contact
Most pedestrians wait for eye contact with incoming drivers before they cross the street. Look for eye contact to clearly communicate that you see the pedestrian and will be stopping for them. You want to avoid any confusion about your intentions. Without eye contact or a gesture from the driver, the pedestrian may assume that you will stop when in reality, you have not noticed them.
School Zones & Busses
Always drive slowly and cautiously in school zones. Children don’t always look both ways and tend to run across the street without warning. Driving slowly will give you more time to react should a child run out into the street. If there is a crossing guard, be sure to follow their instructions.
You should always stop for school bus stop signs. It can be tempting to simply drive around the bus, but keep in mind that children could be crossing the street in front of the bus. Be patient and wait for the school bus stop sign to go down.
Don’t Swerve Around Stopped Vehicles
When the car in front of you stops and you aren’t sure why, you may be tempted to drive around them without stopping. This can easily lead to a disaster. The car may be waiting for a pedestrian that you cannot see from behind them. Not to mention, swerving into another lane unexpectedly is dangerous for you and the other drivers around you.
Watch The Weather
You can’t always stay home when the weather turns ugly. Sometimes we have to drive in dangerous road conditions even when we don’t want to. Plan accordingly and give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. Rushing in poor road conditions is dangerous for you and the pedestrians near you.
Drive slowly to avoid sliding when you break or when you turn. Also, keep in mind that pedestrians tend to be in a hurry to get out of the weather when they are walking. They may run across the street or be too impatient to confirm that you are in fact stopping to allow them to cross.
To minimize the risk of hitting or startling a cyclist, please follow these steps:
- Watch for hazards the cyclist may encounter and consider the actions they will take to avoid the hazard.
- When attempting to pass a cyclist, slow down behind them and wait until there is more than enough room for you to get around without entering another lane.
- Avoid honking your horn at a cyclist. It may startle them, causing them to lose control of their bicycle.
- Always slow down when you see children on bicycles. Keep in mind that they may drive erratically and that they do not know the traffic laws.
- Intersections are the number one area where cyclist accidents occur. Never assume that the cyclist will stop at a light, wait for them to actually do it.
We’ve all been told to be cautious when we are behind the wheel. But with so many pedestrian accidents in the past year, it is important to remind ourselves. Please drive safely!