Wednesday July 6, 2011
On The Road
Drivers need to watch for pedestrians walking and talking on cell phones
Released by Lennae Durant, BCAA RSF/Web image
ith the announcement that Vancouver police will be cracking down on intersection infractions by both drivers and pedestrians over the next week, the BCAA Road Safety Foundation reminds all road users that safety is the issue.
"In an intersection it isn't about who
has the right of way," stated Allan Lamb, president and COO of the BCAA Road
Safety Foundation commenting on the recent announcement by police to increase
enforcement of intersection laws. "The laws for intersection use are to ensure
the safety of both pedestrians and drivers."
Just six months into the year and the number of pedestrian deaths in Vancouver has already exceeded that of the previous year.
Lamb points out that drivers have a lot to pay attention to in an intersection, including pedestrians, but that pedestrians should never assume that a driver sees them.
The use of handheld electronic devices while driving has proven to be a deadly distraction. New studies show that the use of these same devices by pedestrians has a similar effect in that the pedestrian becomes less aware of the situation around them.
Safe Kids Canada reported that preliminary research with 10 and 11 year old children provides strong evidence that talking on a cell phone while crossing a street increases a child's risk of being struck by a vehicle by up to one third.
The safest way to navigate an intersection is to keep your head up and pay attention. The BCAA Road Safety Foundation offers a few tips for pedestrians and drivers.
Tips for Pedestrians
Always use crosswalks and pedestrian-activated signals when they are available.
When crossing a street walk, don't run. This will allow drivers more time to see and come to a safe stop.
Look all four ways: left, right, ahead and then behind and watch for vehicles turning right on a red light. They may not be looking for you. Continue to look left and right at all lanes of traffic when crossing the road
Pause until all vehicles are stopped and never step out into traffic until you have made eye contact with drivers and you are certain they will stop.
When you step off the curb in front of a vehicle that has stopped to let you cross, don't proceed until you have checked the traffic in all other lanes. Drivers may not realize other vehicles have stopped for pedestrians.
Don't let children run out ahead of you. Children are less visible than adults and children cannot always exercise good judgment about safety - so stay close enough to pull them to safety.
Heads up and hang up: Do not talk, text, game or search for a song on your MP3 player while crossing the street. This is an unnecessary distraction and could result in you not being able to respond to an emergency situation.
Tips for Drivers
Decrease your speed by a few kilometres per hour to give you more time to stop when you are in a busy area such as main intersections.
Be aware of what other motorists are doing around you. If you are unsure why a vehicle has stopped, use caution, slow down and be prepared to stop in case the vehicle is stopped for a pedestrian.
When stopping for a pedestrian, don't block the crosswalk. If you pull right up to the painted crosswalk lines, your vehicle may obscure the view of other drivers who then may not realize someone is crossing.
Wait until the pedestrian has completely cleared the adjacent lanes before proceeding.
Left turns. When waiting to turn left at an intersection, be especially aware of pedestrians crossing the street to your left. When you spot a gap in traffic, make sure nobody is in the crosswalk before you make your turn.
Watch out for jaywalkers. Although drivers have the right of way over jaywalkers, in the event of a collision no one wins.
For more information about road safety visit www.BCAARoadSafety.com
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