As both a driver and a pedestrian, I have noticed some alarming trends on the streets of our fine city. I have almost been hit at marked crosswalks more times than I can count, and I have almost hit pedestrians who have chosen to cross wherever they want. Here are some tips to drivers and pedestrians to make our roads safer for everyone, because we all have a responsibility for our own safety.
- Corners are unmarked crosswalks, driveways are not. Do not cross right out of King’s. Walk five feet and cross across from the corner, or use the marked crosswalk by Dalhousie Drive.
- If the red hand is flashing, do not enter the crosswalk. This is a warning to those halfway across the intersection that the lights are about to change and they need clear the intersection so that cars turning left – read liable to run you over – can do so safely before the light turns red.
- It is a well known fact that the colour black is both fashionable and slimming. However, it is also dangerous. Make sure you are wearing something light-coloured so cars can see you at intersections when it’s dark. Don’t blend into the shadows.
- Music is fun, but you need to be able to hear the cars that are hurtling towards you. Turn it down or unplug.
- I find it remarkable how many people have forgotten the simple elementary school lesson to STOP AND LOOK BOTH WAYS. Do not enter the intersection until you are sure that traffic is stopping for you and you are able to cross safely. Remember, just because you have the right of way does not mean cars will stop for you.
- Look for pedestrians where they may be crossing like corners and crosswalks. Be prepared to stop.
- Don’t encourage jay-walking by stopping for someone who seems like they may want to cross the street at some point in the future. Although pedestrians do not have the right of way unless it is a marked crosswalk or corner, if they walk out in front of your car it is your job not to run them over.
- Be aware of potentially unsafe situations. Although we hope all pedestrians will follow the rules above, it’s not likely. Look out for the people who don’t look before they cross, who are texting as they walk, who might blend into the scenery, or who are listening to music.
- It helps if you don’t have your music too loud as well.
- Keep calm and focused. Being a defensive driver is a lot easier when you are able to focus on the road rather than failing a midterm or the fact that you’re late for work.
Ultimately, there are two rules that everyone should follow: DON’T WALK OUT IN FRONT OF CARS and DON’T RUN PEOPLE OVER.