How to be a safe driver – and pedestrian this winter

With the sun setting earlier in the day and the unpredictability of the weather, it can be difficult for drivers to see people walking near or on the sides of the road. The onus should be on both parties to effectively do their parts to ensure the utmost safety.

Here are three things for both drivers and pedestrians to do in order to help prevent an accident before it happens.

Drivers:

1. Be prepared to stop at crosswalks 

When entering a crosswalk area in the evening you can’t always see if there is a person ready to cross or walking across the street. The best precaution you can take as a driver is to slow down every time you enter a crosswalk and be prepared to stop. The further back you stop will provide other cars the opportunity to see your vehicle and stop as well. If you do see a car stopped at a crosswalk, don’t try and pass them as there may be a pedestrian crossing that you aren't able to see. New laws in 2016 stipulate that drivers must wait until pedestrians are completely across the intersection before turning right.

2. Be extra cautious when backing up

If you are backing up out of a driveway onto a city street or a parking spot, take the extra precaution to constantly look around to see if there are any pedestrians nearby. Although pedestrians should be looking out for your vehicle as well, it never hurts to take an extra scope of your surroundings.

3. Follow the speed limit

This one you’ve probably heard since you’ve had your first car. Although time has passed, some rules always reign important. By obeying the speed limit you are in more control of your car and if by chance you hit a slippery patch, you will be able to steer your way out of it much easier than if you were driving at top speed.  

Pedestrians: 

1. Stay on sidewalks 

They were designed with you in mind so it’s best that you use them. If for some reason there aren’t any sidewalks, walk facing traffic and as far away from the cars as possible on the shoulder.

2. Cross streets at intersections or crosswalks

Drivers expect you to cross streets at crosswalks or intersections so do this whenever possible. If this isn’t possible, locate a well-lit area where you can see both directions of traffic. Wait for a gap that provides you enough time to cross safety. As you cross the street, proceed to watch for traffic.

3. Make eye contact with the driver

Never assume that a driver sees you when you are walking across the road. As the driver approaches make eye contact with them to ensure that you are seen. To help the driver see you better, try wearing bright clothing during the day and reflective materials at night. 

By integrating these provisions into your driving and walking routines, you will help contribute to safer roads in your community this winter. 

Our lawyers at Harris Law have the experience to get you the compensation you deserve; we’ll even conduct our own investigation to determine who is at fault. Contact us for a free, one-hour consultation.