Summer Road Safety Reminders for Drivers and Pedestrians
Summer is here and there is no better way to spend your free time than walking, running, hiking and enjoying the weather. But, as a pedestrian or a driver, it is important to be vigilant and take precautions to stay safe.
Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA) and the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) have collaborated to launch a road safety campaign focusing on pedestrian visibility. According to the AA, one in three fatalities on South African roads are pedestrians. Statistics from the Road Management Corporation show that 5,410 pedestrians died on South African roads in 2016 alone.
Ford’s Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) programme encourages drivers to remain vigilant at all times and anticipate traffic situations on the road. This does not mean only looking out for other drivers, but pedestrians as well.
“Remember that a pedestrian stands very little chance of survival up against a car,” says Derek Kirkby, Training Director, Ford DSFL. “When you see a pedestrian crossing the road slow down. Even if it is illegal for them to cross at that section of the road, you must be on vigilant at all times. This includes pedestrians exiting taxis or weaving between the cars to cross the road.”
Ford’s driving experts offer motorists and pedestrians the following important safety tips when travelling this summer:
- Walk on a sidewalk or path when one is available. If no sidewalk or path is available, walk on the shoulder, facing traffic.
- Stay alert – don’t be distracted by electronic devices, including smart phones, tablets, and other devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
- Be cautious night and day when sharing the road with vehicles. Never assume a driver sees you as they approach.
- Be predictable. Cross streets at zebra crossings or intersections when possible. This is where drivers expect pedestrians.
- If a zebra crossing or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area, wait for a gap in traffic that allows you enough time to cross safely, and continue to watch for traffic as you cross.
- Be visible. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or carry a flashlight at night.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking – they impair your judgment and coordination.
- Look for pedestrians everywhere. Pedestrians may not be walking where they should be or may be hard to see – especially in poorly lit conditions, including dusk/dawn/night and poor weather.
- Always stop for pedestrians at a zebra crossing.
- Never pass vehicles stopped at zebra crossings because they may have stopped to allow pedestrians to cross the street.
- Slow down and look for pedestrians. Be prepared to stop when turning into or entering a zebra crossing.
- Stay focused and slow down where children may be present, like parks and neighbourhoods.
Pedestrian safety remains one of the most important challenges to road safety. Statistics from the AA indicates that pedestrians are particularly vulnerable at dawn and dusk, or when visibility is impaired because of smoke, dust, or mist. Visibility is key, so whether you are driving or walking this summer holiday, always keep your eyes on the road.