In South Africa an alarming number of road fatalities are the result of crashes into pedestrians. Both pedestrians and motorists should be held responsible – pedestrians,often intoxicated, for walking on the road surface and motorists for not slowing down in areas where they should expect to find pedestrian fatalities.
We often find that motorists shrug their shoulders and demand that pedestrians be removed from next to the roads. In a perfect world we will not find communities living next to our highways and we will find neatly developed pedestrian pathways and crossings. South Africa is however far from a perfect country – and while road engineers are busy improving our roads and sidewalks – both pedestrians and motorists would have to be more vigilant!!
We would like to urge our pedestrians to be more visible by wearing reflective clothing – and our motorists to drive with lights on.
We would like to share a few suggestions from the Arrive Alive website:
The pedestrians should focus on some of the following aspects
* Ensure that you are clearly visible during the night. Always wear lightly coloured clothes or reflecting clothing.
* Do not walk in the road but on the pavement. If there is no pavement, walk as near to the edge as possible, facing the oncoming traffic.
* Avoid roads at all times when intoxicated.
* When crossing the road and there is a pedestrian bridge, use it, even if it means walking further.
* Never run across the road without looking both ways, and check that there is no traffic before crossing the road.
* Never assume that you have been seen – many disturbances might attract the attention of the motorist.Be wary. Most drivers are nice people, but don’t count on them paying attention. Watch out – make eye contact to be sure they see you!
* Do not leave children unaccompanied next to the road.
* Do not walk halfway – remain beside the road until both lanes are clear.
* Alcohol and drugs can impair your ability to walk safely, just like they do a person’s ability to drive.
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!
* Drive with your lights on!!