The last few weeks in November have been open season on pedestrians (and a few cyclists) in the Ottawa area. All impacts between pedestrians and motor vehicles are avoidable.
Steps Drivers Can Take to Avoid Striking Pedestrians
There are obvious “good driving” steps that all motorists should adopt, including:
- avoiding texting and other distractions;
- drive for the weather conditions to ensure you have adequate brake time for pedestrians;
- ensure your windshield is clear of ice and snow so you have a full range of vision;
- ensure you have working headlights;
- be patient with pedestrians who may not cross quickly;
- obey traffic signals.
There are some additional techniques drivers can adopt to avoid pedestrians:
- use extra caution when passing large trucks or buses in case a pedestrian steps out in front of the large vehicle into your lane of traffic;
- use extra caution when turning to ensure you are not only looking for oncoming traffic but also pedestrians;
- NEVER, NEVER wave a pedestrian to jay-walk in front of you. (This is known as the wave of death. It’s not polite, it’s deadly.)
- In a school zone or near a park or dense residential area, assume there will be children who could dart out at any moment;
- make eye contact with pedestrians to ensure you understand their intention;
- assume that if you see one child crossing, there will be another close behind. Children travel in packs.
Steps Pedestrians Can Take to Avoid being Struck by a Vehicle
Although in many cases, a pedestrian has the right of way, it still makes sense to walk defensively to ensure your safety:
- Wear bright or reflective clothing at night or in bad weather;
- use a clear umbrella so you can see traffic around you;
- don’t text while crossing the street; and
- make eye contact with drivers before crossing.
If you supervised children, remind them:
- To cross the street together;
- To walk, never run, across the street;
- Not to chase a ball into the street;
- To be extra vigilant if they have to step across the street in front of a bus, truck or other obstruction; and
- To cross at an intersection.
If you have questions about an accident involving a pedestrian and a motor vehicle, please call our office for a free, no pressure consultation. We can be reached at 613-233-4529.