Pedestrians, as well as bicyclists, share space with motor vehicles on city streets, rural roadways, and, at times, on busy highways, and collisions can have serious consequences. As a professional driver, you should practice these safety tips to help decrease the likelihood of being involved in a pedestrian-vehicle collision:
- Familiarize yourself with the local laws concerning pedestrians and bicyclists in the areas where you will be driving before getting behind the wheel. Know your route and directions, and identify spots that may be problematic. Also check your mirror settings and clean your windshield for maximum visibility.
- Keep your eyes moving as you drive to help spot pedestrians and bicyclists. Remember that trees, shrubs, signs, poles, buildings, snow banks and other vehicles may hide them from view, and poor weather conditions, lighting and vehicle blind spots can diminish your ability to see.
- Consider driving conditions. Weather and road conditions will affect your stopping distance, which means it will take more time and distance to stop should a pedestrian suddenly step out or a bicyclist unexpectedly swerve into the street. So, always adjust your speed according to the weather.
- Scan both sides of the street when approaching intersections and when turning – either right or left, and be prepared to come to a full stop. Pedestrians and bicyclists, whether in front of you in crosswalks or in your blind spots, could present a conflict. Yield the right of way to pedestrians and bicyclists, and wait until they have crossed and are clear of your vehicle before you proceed.
- Do not block crosswalks, whether marked or unmarked…having to go around your vehicle puts pedestrians and bicyclists in a dangerous situation. Avoid honking the horn or revving your engine when pedestrians and bicyclists are in front of your vehicle in a crosswalk.
- Do not overtake and pass any vehicle that is stopped at an intersection or crosswalk for pedestrians or bicyclists. When you stop for someone in a crosswalk, stop well back so that other drivers can also see the pedestrian or bicyclist as he or she is crossing the roadway.
- Be patient with elderly and disabled people. Seniors and those with physical disabilities may require more time to cross the street.
- Be especially attentive to pedestrians using hand-held devices. Distracted walking is on the rise and emergency room visits have soared in recent years due to pedestrians injured while walking with cell phones. When using such devices, pedestrians typically walk slower and are often less likely to look at traffic before crossing the road. There have even been claims involving distracted pedestrians walking and bicyclists riding into the sides and backs of vehicles.
- Remember that children commonly dart out into the street without looking and are the most difficult to see. Exercise caution when driving near schools, bus stops, parks, playgrounds and ice cream trucks. Always expect children to be around stopped school buses, even if the red lights of the bus are not flashing as you approach.
- Pay particular attention when driving on streets lined with parked cars as people in those cars can quickly become pedestrians. Slow down and keep your eyes moving so that if the car door opens at the worst possible moment, you have a better chance of avoiding a collision.
- Take your time when pulling out of alleys and driveways. Expect people to be walking on the sidewalk and bicyclists to be riding along the side of the road, and be prepared to stop.
- Keep your guard up as you navigate in and around special hazards such as toll booths, work zones, vehicle breakdowns, accidents, police activities and parking lots. These are definitely times for you to exercise courtesy to pedestrians.
- Be well rested and don’t let your guard down. Avoid dangerous distractions that can put you and others at risk.
By following these tips, you can safely identify and help avoid potentially risky scenarios. And, as a general rule of thumb, yield the right of way to pedestrians and bicyclists whenever you’re behind the wheel.
This post is taken from CRITICAL ISSUES – A COPYRIGHTED PUBLICATION OF LANCER INSURANCE COMPANY