Drivers vs. Pedestrians: Safety Tips for those Behind the Wheel

Written by Mike

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the number of pedestrian deaths is on the rise. While this is due in large part to an increase in the number of people who walk, it also has something to do with the way people are driving.

As a pedestrian, it is essential that you do your part in staying safe. This means walking on the sidewalks, looking both ways before crossing the street, and crossing only at intersections.

As insensitive as it sounds, some drivers could care less about pedestrians. Instead, they take the approach that they are in a car and everybody on the street should watch out for them. Obviously, this is a poor approach that puts both the driver and pedestrians at risk.

When behind the wheel, here are five tips that you should follow to improve safety:

1. Slow down when pedestrians are present. Simply put, the slower you are driving the less chance there is that you are going to hit somebody. Additionally, the faster you are going the better chance there is that any contact will result in death. Keep your speed to a minimum if pedestrians are present.

2. Watch out for small children. Not only are they more difficult to see, but they also have no sense of what is going on around them. They may dart across the street without looking or wander close to traffic by mistake. While you should be watching out for all pedestrians, you must take more precautions when children are present.

3. Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. When somebody is crossing the street (even if they are not supposed to be doing so) you should yield to him or her to ensure that they make it safely. Some intersections have signs prompting drivers to do so. At other intersections you need to do this on your own.

4. Don’t pass a bus if it is pulled to the side of the road. Doing this is a big risk because you are unable to see if a pedestrian is walking out in front of the bus as a means of reaching the other side of the street.

This holds true both for public transportation buses as well as those that are carrying students.

5. Left turns are more dangerous. Did you know that pedestrians are four times more likely to be hit by a car when it is turning left? You should always be paying attention to what you are doing, but when making left turns you have to be extra careful.

Top Causes of Pedestrian Accidents

Even though you are not the one doing the walking, by understanding the top causes of pedestrian accidents you can help make the world a safer place.

  • Darting into traffic mid-block (not at a crosswalk)
  • Pedestrians who walk behind vehicles that are backing up
  • Stopped vehicles (see #4 above) blocking the view of the driver
  • Running across the road at an intersection
  • Vehicle turning or merging

By following these tips as a driver, you can help make the road a safer place for pedestrians.