A young adult walks along a local road in the early evening hours. She is walking with friends about twenty feet from a busy road. The evening is warm and the conversation light. Suddenly the young adult is run over by a car and is dead on the side of the road. Here friend’s attempts to save her life are futile, her injuries too severe. The car that drove over her speeds away. The driver may not know and perhaps not care about the young adult lying dead.
Is this scene an exaggeration or could this happen in your community? Yes, it could happen anywhere. Whenever a motor vehicle strikes a pedestrian, whether a walker or jogger, the pedestrian loses. This does not mean that the responsibility to prevent an accident rests only with the pedestrian. It takes caution as well as action by both vehicle drivers and pedestrians to prevent these accidents.
Drivers of motor vehicles should scan the road ahead for hazards. One of those hazards is the pedestrian. This means children and adults; runners and walkers, men and women can all be a hazard. After the driver identifies the pedestrian, they must determine if they are in the path of the vehicle or if they may step into the path of the vehicle. If the answer is yes, the driver must take action to avoid them. The driver has many options that include: slowing down, driving to the left part of the lane, stopping, or taking an alternate route.
Pedestrians should walk or run facing traffic and scan the road ahead to identify hazards. One of the hazards is the motor vehicle. This means cars, trucks, and even motorcycles can be a hazard. After the pedestrian identifies the vehicle, they determine if it will be a hazard to them. Lastly, if the pedestrian determines the vehicle will affect them, the pedestrian takes action to get out of the path of the motor vehicle. The pedestrian also has options. These include: changing their path, walking a greater distance from the road surface, or last but not least jumping out of the path of the vehicle.
When it comes to traffic control devices, like the crosswalk, drivers do not have options. Drivers must stop at crosswalks if a pedestrian is attempting to cross the street or road or is in the crosswalk. Pedestrians must use crosswalks when they are provided. When a crosswalk is not provided the pedestrian should cross the road at a right angle, quickly, and only when traffic is not coming. Many times a driver might signal a pedestrian to cross at an area where a crosswalk is not provided. This can be dangerous. The pedestrian should use caution when a driver signals. They should not expect a driver is coming from the other direction to stop. They should also be prepared for drivers to drive around the stopped vehicle.
Pedestrians should use sidewalks when provided. When they are not provided, they should walk or run on the side of the road facing traffic. This allows them to see the hazards as they approach and provides an opportunity to avoid the motor vehicle. Pedestrians should never wear earphones to listen to music, radio, or books. This will prevent them from hearing noises that may alert them to a hazard.
Pedestrians run the risk of being injured in an accident with a motor vehicle. However, it does not have to be that way. If drivers and pedestrians work together to identify and control hazards, there need not be any accidents or injuries. All communities would be much better places to live if drivers drove vehicles slower and showed a little more concern for those around them. Giving a pedestrian a break won’t cost a lot of time, but it can prevent an accident. This can add up to making a safer place for pedestrians.