Remember when you were taught to stop and look both ways before crossing the street? Well, now that you’re a driver, those same rules still apply. Pedestrian safety is super important for both the pedestrian and nearby drivers, so here are 5 ways you can protect everyone.
FACT: Did you know that in Alberta, vehicles approaching from both directions must stop and yield to pedestrians? It’s the law to wait until pedestrians have safely reached the curbside to begin driving again.
Now maybe you’re thinking that crosswalks are easy to spot, and that must mean that pedestrians are easy to spot as well. Well, there’s actually a little more to it.
Pedestrians can be unpredictable, just like some drivers, so knowing which laws apply to you as a driver will help you feel comfortable and safe behind the wheel.
Pedestrians fall into a category known as Vulnerable Road Users. This means that if they become involved in a collision, they’re more likely to suffer serious injuries or death. The Government of Alberta’s Traffic Safety Plan outlines a few stats that’ll help you understand just how important speed limits are:
- The probability of death for a pedestrian hit by a vehicle moving at approximately 40 km/hr is about 20%.
- If that vehicle were to speed up to 60 km/hr, the probability of death would be closer to 80%.
- Finally, if that vehicle was going over 80 km/hr, it’s highly unlikely that a pedestrian would survive the collision.
Now, as a driver, you’re always watching for traffic light changes and road signs while following everything you’ve been taught by your driving instructor. So, what can you do to keep pedestrians and other drivers extra safe on the roads?
For starters, the majority of pedestrians injured in a collision are elderly or young people. Elderly people are most likely to be hit at intersections, often due to possible issues with mobility. So even if the street light has turned green, it’s important to scan the cross-walk for lingering pedestrians. Lights can change quickly and if a person isn’t moving fast enough, they may need more time to reach the other side.
Remember: even if it’s technically your turn, always yield to pedestrians.
The other group often involved in pedestrian accidents are kids, and these types of collisions usually occur in non-intersection areas. For example, a kid might unexpectedly dart into the road while playing a game. Always pay close attention to your surroundings so you can react quickly.
Be Aware of Pedestrian Codes of Conduct
Pedestrians are also taught to follow certain codes of conduct, so it’s helpful for drivers to notice these signs.
Keep an eye out for pedestrians who:
- Point across the road
- Pause on the curb side or attempt to make eye contact with nearby drivers
- Hold their arm out as they begin crossing the road
- Hit a pedestrian crosswalk light
Make Eye Contact
Eye contact is the best way to let pedestrians know you’ve seen them and will wait for them to safely cross. A recent study in France actually showed that drivers were more likely to stop if they’d made eye contact with a pedestrian.
Maintain Proper Visibility:
- Check that your rear-view and side mirrors are positioned correctly
- Make sure your windshield and headlights aren’t obstructed
- Remove snow from your car during winter months
- Make sure you’ve got working windshield wipers and wiper fluid
Follow the Rules of the Road
Finally, remember that the rules of the road account for pedestrian safety too, so follow them.
- Turning right on a red light is legal so long as you yield to oncoming traffic. This includes pedestrians. Make sure to check for pedestrians crossing before making that right turn, and remember, it’s illegal to cut in front of them even if you think you’ve got time.
- Do not pass other vehicles at a crosswalk.
- Wait until pedestrians have finished crossing the road to resume driving.
We know that new drivers are taking in a ton of new information and that keeping alert doesn’t always come naturally. Nevertheless, let’s help keep the roads safe for everyone! And if you’re in Calgary, take part in the “Lookout for Each Other” campaign.
And don’t forget to check how Carrot can track new driving behaviour and improve driver skills on the road.
HOW DO I GET CARROT?
Carrot is as easy to use as 123:
- Enroll with InsureMy (plus get a 10% discount)
- Connect your vehicle to the Drive With Carrot App
a. (Download it on iTunes or Google )
- Buckle up and start getting cash rewards for driving smart!
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