We should always drive in a manner that recognizes the dangers in a specific area. This includes in South Africa especially – slowing down in areas where there might be increased danger of accidents as a result of threats from animals and pedestrians.
At the release of the initial accident statistics for December 2009 in South Africa, it was revealed that out of the 1050 fatalities, there have been 355 pedestrian deaths. This is an alarming number – and a high percentage which is something quite unique to South Africa. There can be many reasons for the high number of pedestrian fatalities – but we would, on the car insurance blog, rather like to focus on how to avoid colliding with pedestrians!
How to avoid collisions with pedestrians on the roads of South Africa
Many of the pedestrian fatalities may be prevented through the application of some basic principles. The following safety hints should be applied by drivers:
- Be aware that many informal settlements are situated alongside main roads and that there are no formal points of crossing or pedestrian bridges.
- Do not speed near these settlements but be prepared to slow down.
- Do not assume that you have been seen.
- Be on the lookout for small children.
- Avoid passing vehicles in the vicinity of these settlements and especially in hazardous driving conditions such as heavy rain or night driving.
- If visibility is bad, slow down – avoid driving when your vision is impaired either by strong rain or the blinding headlights of approaching vehicles.
- Be on the lookout for pedestrians walking at the side of the road with their backs towards you.
- Be aware of intoxicated pedestrians – especially over weekends and near informal settlements.
- Be careful near places where busses or taxi’s appear to stand next to the road – passengers might suddenly decide to cross the road!
- Always be ready for the unexpected!
Things to remember as a driver
- You can encounter pedestrians anytime and anywhere – even in places where they are not supposed to be found.
- Pedestrians can be very hard to see – especially in bad weather or at night. You must keep a lookout and slow down if you can’t see clearly.
- Stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk, even if it is not marked. When you stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, stop well back so that drivers in the other lanes can also see the pedestrian in time to stop.
- Cars stopped in the street may be stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross. Do not pass if there is any doubt!
- Don’t assume that pedestrians see you or that they will act predictably. They may be physically or mentally impaired – or drunk!
- When you are turning, you often will have to wait for a “gap” in traffic. Beware that while you are watching for that “gap”, pedestrians may have moved into your intended path. Don’t run someone down.
- Be especially attentive around schools and in neighbourhoods where children are active. Drive there like you would like people to drive in front of your own home!
View the Arrive Alive road safety website for more information on avoiding accidents!