Truck Drivers vs Pedestrians
It’s 6:30 in the morning. You grab your morning coffee and head out the door. As you travel down the street, you notice that due to the morning fog, visibility is quite limited. As you approach the next intersection, you safely come to a stop and scan both directions before proceeding; everything looks clear. You are halfway through the intersection when suddenly bright lights from over your shoulder are upon you, filling your vision with brightness. You quickly run across the intersection, avoiding what could have been the end of your day.
While this scenario hopefully has never happened to you, the dangers for pedestrian related accidents are real. At a recent safety meeting, Don Miller from ICBC shared with us that the statistics for pedestrian accidents are at an all-time high. He stated that last year there were 2251 pedestrians who were injured in BC due to incidents with a vehicle, and out of those 51 were fatal accidents. Males made up 48% of these figures, and the remaining 51% were female. The biggest danger lies at intersections, which saw over 70% of all pedestrian accidents last year. In October 2016 alone, there were 10 pedestrian deaths, which brings this year’s death toll to 47. Even the statistics for each city is surprising.
With hundreds of thousands of people commuting to the city on public transportation, it means an increase of people on the street. It also means there will be commuters who are in a rush to cross the street to catch the next bus without first scanning the street or intersection. Along with the danger of distracted pedestrians comes the danger of more cyclists on the road; As more and more people are biking to work each year, it means that even more people are joining us on the roads, but are less noticeable than motor vehicles. As a driver, you need to stay alert to their presence on the road and make sure you can identify what their hand signals mean, if they even use them at all.
Danger on the Rise
We all know the rules and dangers of distracted driving, but there are no current laws that prevent pedestrians using their cell phones while walking. Even if you see a pedestrian, it does not mean they see you. Lately, it seems as though most pedestrians on phones won’t even notice the “Do Not Cross” sign.
When it’s man vs machine, man unfortunately doesn’t stand much of a chance against an automobile, let alone a fully loaded tractor-trailer. As the driver, it is up to you to take control of the situation. When you are hauling a full size trailer or if you have an oversized load, make sure you know where your trailer will end up during a wide turn. While the other cars on the road may foresee the path of where your trailer is going, do not expect the same from pedestrians. If you see them standing near a street corner, keep them in your sights as you turn in case they decide to step out. Even against a trailer tire, the average human doesn’t stand a chance.
Naturally, it is everyone’s responsibility to share the roads. After all, at some time or another, you too may find yourself walking along a street, hoping that other drivers will show you the same courteousness you have shown for them. In all cases, here are some tips that pedestrians can use to increase their chance of making it home safely.
- Wear reflective clothing or reflective bands to make sure you are seen, this is especially true from October to February (yes, black is slimming, but it makes a person less visible to others)
- Stay on the sidewalk whenever possible and use the marked crosswalks
- You may be in a rush, but refrain from dashing across the street
- When using the crosswalk, obey the traffic signals and the “Walk” and “Do Not Walk” signs
- Stay off the phone and remove your earbuds when crossing an intersection, a vehicle can move far faster than you and can be upon you instantly if you cannot hear it
- Be alert for vehicles that are turning and make eye contact with the driver before crossing, don’t assume that the driver can see you
- Do not attempt to walk home if you are intoxicated, call a taxi cab instead
We all value our safety and want everyone to get home safely, so when you scan an intersection, don’t focus like a laser – only looking at one aspect that may be a danger. Act like a flashlight – casting a wide beam on everything. If everyone has this type of thinking, we can all ensure our safety when driving or using a crosswalk.