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Be safe when crossing an intersection

 | July 5, 2011


BCAA reminds drivers and pedestrians to be extra careful when passing through intersections.

Studies have shown that using handheld devices—either while driving or crossing the street—is a contributing factor to accidents on the road. While it is common knowledge that drivers can get distracted from the road when texting or talking on a cellphone, the same hazard applies to pedestrians. Preliminary research on 10 and 11-year-olds conducted by Safe Kids Canada found that talking on a cellphone while crossing a street increases the child’s risk of being struck by a vehicle by up to one third.

Here’s a list of safety tips for pedestrians and drivers from the BCAA Road Safety Foundation:

  • Always use crosswalks and pedestrian-activated signals when they are available.
  • When crossing a street walk, don’t run. This will allow drivers more time to see and come to a safe stop.
  • Look all four ways: left, right, ahead and then behind and watch for vehicles turning right on a red light. They may not be looking for you. Continue to look left and right at all lanes of traffic when crossing the road
  • Pause until all vehicles are stopped and never step out into traffic until you have made eye contact with drivers and you are certain they will stop.
  • When you step off the curb in front of a vehicle that has stopped to let you cross, don’t proceed until you have checked the traffic in all other lanes. Drivers may not realize other vehicles have stopped for pedestrians.
  • Don’t let children run out ahead of you. Children are less visible than adults and children cannot always exercise good judgment about safety – so stay close enough to pull them to safety.
  • Heads up and hang up: Do not talk, text, game or search for a song on your MP3 player while crossing the street.  This is an unnecessary distraction and could result in you not being able to respond to an emergency situation.

Tips for Drivers:

  • Decrease your speed by a few kilometres per hour to give you more time to stop when you are in a busy area such as main intersections.
  • Be aware of what other motorists are doing around you. If you are unsure why a vehi­cle has stopped, use caution, slow down and be prepared to stop in case the vehicle is stopped for a pedestrian.
  • When stopping for a pedestrian, don’t block the crosswalk. If you pull right up to the painted crosswalk lines, your vehicle may obscure the view of other drivers who then may not realize someone is crossing.
  • Wait until the pedestrian has completely cleared the adjacent lanes before proceeding.
  • Left turns. When waiting to turn left at an intersection, be especially aware of pedestrians crossing the street to your left. When you spot a gap in traffic, make sure nobody is in the crosswalk before you make your turn.
  • Watch out for jaywalkers. Although drivers have the right of way over jaywalkers, in the event of a collision no one wins.

For more information, visit www.bcaaroadsafety.com.

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