Many sections of California experience an abundance of pedestrian traffic throughout all parts of the year. But these high levels of people on their feet means that drivers have to be on their toes. Careful attention must be paid to one’s surroundings at all times in order to prevent potential catastrophes. Police in the city of Newark want to make sure that pedestrians are kept safe, and they’re thus offering some tips as provided by the state’s own California Drivers Handbook.
For one thing, motor vehicle operators have to understand that a pedestrian is always going to have the right of way because of their relatively defenselessness, even if they’re crossing the street at an inopportune time. If you have time to react but you don’t, you could be held liable even if the pedestrian ostensibly chose a poor time to cross the street. Crosswalk or no, intersection or middle of the block, it’s up to you to protect even those pedestrians who made a poor judgment call.
When you see pedestrians walking along the street or simply standing near the road, put yourself on guard. You never know when someone is going to head out into the street without regard to their own safety. Keep an eye on persons who look like they’re going to cross, especially if the upcoming crosswalk is not accompanied by a traffic light. The pedestrian might try to meet your eyes with theirs as a signal that they want to walk, and you should yield in those situations. This avoids a potentially tragic miscommunication.
You also need to exercise caution when you approach a crosswalk even when pedestrians aren’t around. This is particularly important when you get near a crosswalk with yellow lines, which is a signal that a school is nearby and kids could be around. Even if flashing lights are going off but there’s no pedestrians you can readily view, slow down and be wary of someone you might have missed. And if another vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk, there’s a good chance that they’ve stopped for someone on foot. Recognize the situation for what it is and pull to a stop alongside the first vehicle. Careening through the crosswalk could endanger pedestrians.
Do you own an electric or hybrid vehicle? If so, then you have to take additional precautions that other drivers don’t. These vehicles tend to be much quieter than the standard automobile, and a pedestrian who doesn’t hear the vehicle might thus cross the street thinking that the path is clear. Drive slowly when in a pedestrian-heavy area if you own one of these vehicles.
By following these steps, California can hopefully cut down on pedestrian fatalities, which account for 19% of all deadly traffic accidents.