With the ice and snow that plagued our region this morning, we are not likely thinking that spring is right around the corner. That said, very soon, the warming days will begin bringing everyone out from their winter hibernation. This is why our Sixty Seconds of SafetyTM Message for March is focused on pedestrian safety. Of course, pedestrians should always be mindful of vehicles when near or crossing roadways, but we cannot always assume that this will be the case. The increased pedestrian fatalities seen starting in 2010 supported the idea of "distracted walking" becoming a growing problem. The good news is that these figures showed a decline in 2013 (for the first time in years), but this does not change the fact that we must be more vigilant.
We want to remind drivers of these important considerations when it comes to pedestrians:
- Always slow down when in pedestrian-dense areas. A driver is often unable to see all pedestrians, particularly children, so it is important to slow down when near groups of people.
- Always anticipate the unexpected when near pedestrians, especially children. Anticipation can make all the difference between a tragedy and a controlled situation when encountering someone darting into the street or a child chasing a ball.
- Always assume there is an imaginary crosswalk at intersections, even if none is marked. Many people treat intersections as virtual crosswalks and will simply step into an intersection, expecting traffic to stop...so be vigilant and make the safe assumption that this might happen.
- Always try to make eye contact when dealing with pedestrians.While you may see the pedestrian, the pedestrian may not see you. Making eye contact is one way to communicate and share intentions.
So as the days grow longer and cherry blossoms begin to bloom, be very vigilant of pedestrians entering the roadway, taking a proactive approach to minimize the risks involved!