When it comes to being a responsible driver and road user, then it is important to know that pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users around. More than 270,000 pedestrians are killed on the world’s roads. These people leave their homes as they would on any given day, only to never return. Globally pedestrians account for some 22% of all road users.
The most important aspect to be aware of when looking out for pedestrians on the road is too be alert. Being a road user is a two-way street, not only are you responsible for your own safety, but you are also responsible for the safety of all other road users. This is particularly true of pedestrians. All pedestrians, particularly younger ones, are not always where you think they should be and may respond unpredictably at any time. Therefore, you should always keep an eye open on all foot traffic around you.
You should always be aware of the speed limits in areas in which you are driving. You should make sure to never exceed the limit in particular in heavy pedestrian areas. Be extra vigilant around schools and playgrounds or any areas where there are large groups of children. If the weather conditions are bad, if it is raining, or snowing then you need to take even further care. Braking distances can be exaggerated, and pedestrians respond to the weather more than the road. Visibility can also be impaired, so it is important to make sure that you use headlights as well. Be extra careful when pulling into or out of driveways. This is particularly true when you are reversing.
Areas with crosswalks are always going to see heavier pedestrian traffic. Make sure that you always yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. When approaching an area with a crosswalk reduce your speed and be prepared to stop at the crosswalk even if it looks like it will be clear. When you are stopped at the crosswalk then make sure that you leave sufficient space for other vehicles to be able to see that you are stopping for pedestrians. If you are approaching a vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk then don’t pass them. They have stopped because of pedestrians and so you should too.
Of course, you should always make sure that your vehicle is in good condition before you drive. This means ensuring that things like your breaks are in good working order and that your headlights are all clear and working. You want to make sure that you can control the vehicle easily if there are pedestrians around. You want to be in your best physical condition as well. Ensure that you are not driving under the influence of drink or drugs. Make sure that you have had sufficient sleep and that all your attention is on the road and the pedestrians that are walking along the road. Be aware that at any time a pedestrian could appear on the road in front of you and be prepared to stop.