Leave aside highways, crossing normal roads during busy traffic can be deadly. Partly call it recklessness of drivers and partly, the negligence of pedestrians, accidents while crossing the roads are not uncommon these days. Both the pedestrians and drivers are responsible for increasing road accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated in a report that in 2008, nearly 4300 pedestrians were killed in road accidents while close to 69,000 were left injured. These are vital statistics that highlight the gravity of situation. Awareness about pedestrian safety is important so that road accidents and mishaps can be reduced.
Pedestrian Safety Awareness: For Drivers
Drivers are the ones who must exercise caution to a great level because the brakes of the vehicle are in their control. A little awareness amongst drivers can immensely help pedestrians.
✔ Slow down your speed if you watch people crossing a street. Don't hasten to overtake them as it can be lethal for you and for the pedestrians. Keep it as a thumb rule, be slow and in control.
✔ Don't overtake any vehicle that is letting pedestrians cross a street. If you do so, it is a sign of poor driving and sheer recklessness. Be patient with people who are on their foot as they need time to cross the street.
✔ Be mentally prepared to face pedestrians anywhere and at any time during your driving. Some pedestrians are least aware of road rules and they may attempt to cross the roads even at peak hours. That's why, it is advised to a driver to drive in safe speed limits.
✔ If you are driving in a bad weather or foggy area, where visibility is restricted, it is good to slow down considerably.
✔ Respect pedestrians walking on zebra crossing or crosswalks. Learn about traffic rules and become aware about pedestrian rights. Just because you are on a two wheeler or a four wheeler, doesn't give you the license to hurt or kill anyone.
✔ Be very careful while driving in school areas, hospitals, road intersections and main road junctions where you observe increased mobility of children and people.
✔ While turning, make sure you have slowed down and you are giving proper space to the pedestrians for crossing. Road turns are very dangerous as drivers often lose their control while turning fast.
Pedestrian Safety Awareness: For Pedestrians
If you are a pedestrian, you must exercise common sense and patience in dealing with heavy traffic. You can't jump in between a traffic and risk your life, especially, if you are with children.
✔ Ensure that you are aware of traffic signal signs and traffic symbols. This will help you to take better decisions while crossing a road.
✔ Always use crosswalks or zebra crossings.
✔ Use your hands to signal the driver to stop and always try to make eye contacts with the driver. Many a time, you may be able to see the driver, but the driver would not have noticed you. Hence, use hands and eyes to signal the driver to stop.
✔ Remember the first lesson while crossing a road: Stop. Look left, right and again left. Then keep looking while crossing the street. It is easier to cross one way traffic than traffic that is coming from both sides of the road.
✔ Avoid running across the street. It can create a sense of driving distraction for the driver leading to more severe accidents. Moreover, if you trip while running, the situation can get out of hand.
✔ Use sideways or footpaths while walking.
✔ If you don't find crosswalks or zebra crossing, wait till the traffic signal is red. Don't take unnecessary risks by jumping in busy traffic.
✔ Kids under 12 years must be assisted while crossing streets. Parents must be careful with kids in parking lots or areas where vehicle mobility is high.
✔ Teach kids the meaning of traffic signals and advantages of obeying traffic rules.
✔ Carry flashlights during night or if you are going to cross roads where there is scarcity of light.
✔ Wear anti reflective colors or light colors if you have to frequently cross a street. You must be seen by the driver else the driver may not be careful.
✔ Drivers are not bad people who want to hit you. Still, ensure that you have indicated the driver that you are crossing the street. Trust yourself more than anybody on roads, as you can safeguard yourself best.
✔ Be careful while crossing high speed roads and multiple road junctions.
✔ If you are carrying heavy weight or load while crossing, ensure that you are comfortable in reaching the next end of the road.
✔ Avoid picking any stuff that falls while you are crossing the street. You can wait for the traffic to stop. Many a time, individuals have been hit by vehicles while they rushed in between the roads to pick up something as simple as a hat, cap or a pen.
✔ If you have visibility problem, request someone to assist you in crossing the road. Pedestrian guards are deployed by traffic police in areas of high traffic mobility to help people cross a street.
✔ Never be double minded while crossing a street. Take your time, judge the traffic and only then proceed to cross the street.
After having gone through the above tips for pedestrian safety, you are now equipped to take care of yourself while crossing a road. Be responsible every time you cross a street, because your life is precious!