There has been a recent public service announcement on the radio in which, after a pedestrian is hit by a car, the pedestrian and a driver each attempt to attach blame by asking why the other person wasn’t more attentive. The truth is we all need to be watching out for each other. Motorists, please use caution, especially near parks, schools, school zones, and other areas where children are likely to be present. Pedestrians also need to use caution when they are in or near the roadway. Remember, having the right-of-way when crossing the street, even in a marked crosswalk, does not prevent injuries. Also, just as texting and driving is dangerous, texting and walking, especially when on or near the roadway, when the pedestrian should be watching out for traffic, is also dangerous.
The following tips are from the Utah Department of Health’s Violence and Injury Prevention Program.
Safety Tips for Drivers
• Slow down and use caution in residential areas, around schools, playgrounds, parks, or other areas where children and pedestrians are common.
• If a vehicle has stopped at a crosswalk (either marked or unmarked), all vehicles must also stop to allow a pedestrian to cross.
• Drivers must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing at intersections (a crosswalk exists at every intersection regardless of whether or not it is painted) or in any other marked crosswalk.
• When exiting a parking lot or driveway, stop before the sidewalk and yield the right-of-way to any pedestrians on the sidewalk before crossing over the sidewalk.
• Vehicles making a left or right turn on a green light must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian in a marked or unmarked crosswalk within the intersection.
• When turning right on a red light, come to a complete stop and look to the right for pedestrians crossing the street in front of your vehicle.
• Vehicles must stop at the “stop line” in front of a crosswalk, and not in the crosswalk.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians
• Always look left-right-left before crossing any street and continue to look for vehicles as you cross.
• Do not stand in the street while waiting to cross.
• Just because you are using a crosswalk, does not mean that a driver will see or even stop for you.
• When crossing at a marked crosswalk, push the pedestrian signal button. It will give you more time before the traffic light turns green.
• If a sidewalk exists, use it. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic along the shoulder of the roadway.
• If crossing a road with several lanes and a vehicle in the closest lane has stopped to allow you to cross, make sure vehicles in other lanes see you and stop for you as well before proceeding.
• Look out for vehicles entering or exiting a parking lot or driveway.
• Dress to be seen. Brightly colored clothing may make you a little more visible to drivers during daylight hours, but during nighttime hours, bright and even white clothing does little to enhance your visibility to drivers. Instead, wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight.