Pedestrian Safety Tips for Drivers

October may have been Pedestrian Safety Awareness month in BC, but it is important to keep the campaign on your periphery all autumn and winter, especially if you’re a driver.

ICBC studies show that 43 per cent of all crashes with pedestrians happen between October and January, so we’re far from in the clear as we enter November and this is why some BC communities are hosting awareness events beyond the prescribed dates. The startling statistic has also driven Park Insurance to follow suit, with some important tips for anyone operating a vehicle in the months ahead.

5 Tips to Avoiding Pedestrian Related Car Accidents in the Fall and Winter Season

1. Be More Mindful at Intersections

In B.C. 76 per cent of crashes involving pedestrians happen at intersections. Keep this in mind the next time you are about to turn a corner, and yield the right-of-way even when it seems that you have priority. If the pedestrian isn’t looking, give them a polite (short) honk to let them know they can pass first and wait for them to cross before proceeding.

Whether passing or turning through an intersection, check beside streetlight posts and telephone poles at crosswalks. Pedestrians are often standing beside these structures and when visibility is poor during rain, sleet, or snow, you won’t notice them, and an accident may ensue.

2. Be More Cautious at Transit Stops and Other Places of Gathering

Transit stops are also potential danger zones during bouts of autumn/winter weather because of poor visibility. People waiting for the bus often step out onto the road to see if their bus is coming, which can result in tragedy if you’re driving fast passed their stop and you can’t see them. The threat is compounded further in rural areas, where transit stops may not have a tall curb separating them from the road, so be sure to drive more cautiously when you see the bus stop sign or bench.

The same caution should be applied to school zones and neighborhood streets where pedestrians may suddenly appear.

3. Remove All Potential Distractions from the Equation

Distracted driving is a top cause of pedestrian related accidents all year. Given that you’re more likely to be involved in one during this season, you must remove all potential for distraction. That means absolutely no eating, drinking (coffee included), texting or phoning to and from your destination. 100% of your focus should be on the road and on the lookout for pedestrians. View more on how to avoid distracted driving.

4. Makes Sure Lights and Signals Are in Proper Working Order (and use them)

Pedestrians also have a hard time seeing what’s coming during autumn/winter weather and shorter days of the year. Your signal lights, headlights, and taillights are lifesavers for them. If you haven’t already had them inspected, do so immediately and replace or repair as needed. If you drive an older vehicle you will have to remember to manually turn on your headlights well before dusk or when visibility is low (fog, etc.). Lastly, be sure to always signal before turning at every intersection because as noted in item #1 above, that corner may have a pedestrian lurking nearby, even if there does not appear to be one in sight.

5. Be Patient With Them

In an ideal world, drivers and pedestrians would equally share the responsibility of road safety. But it’s not an ideal world. Some modern day pedestrians may try your patience, with their earbuds in and heads down staring at their smartphones while crossing the street. You may feel the urge to zip passed them as they casually saunter across the road, scrolling through their iTunes playlist while talking to their friend about plans for the weekend. Yes indeed, it can be an onerous task dealing with some pedestrians, but as drivers we must grin, bear it, and be patient. Everyone will be safer because of your ability to do so, especially in the more hazardous months of the year.

Wishing You a Safe Autumn and Winter Season Ahead!

~ Park Insurance ~