With so many pedestrians getting struck by motorists lately, I was wondering what’s happening to make these incidents happen. Well, I had the first hand experience this past Friday to see a pedestrian almost get creamed by a motorist. Maybe more of the fatalities were similar situations to the one I witnessed.
I was out with two new instructor trainees, training them to become driving instructors, when I spotted a pedestrian jogging toward the crosswalk from my right; against the light no less. I honked my horn approximately 6 times to get him to stop before he reached my path, but he continued to run across the crosswalk in front of me. I had to brake to avoid hitting him when I saw that he was ignoring my horn. The driver approaching from the other direction didn’t brake until the very last second, missing the pedestrian by mere inches. Why couldn’t that driver see the pedestrian sooner? The intersection was clear from obstructions, so spotting the pedestrian would have been easy, provided they were looking.
This experience was a good learning tool for the two new instructors. First, they now realize for certain why it’s important to scan all intersections before entering them. This allows us to spot problems from other drivers and pedestrians. Second, they also realize why we can’t assume that people will always respond to honking. That pedestrian looked our way, but continued running across the crosswalk. It looked like he wanted to catch his bus. Half a second later and he would be catching his ambulance.
As a pedestrian, we also need to follow the rules and wait for the crosswalk symbol to let us know when it may be safe to cross the road. We must also look for traffic before crossing the road. We’ve all seen drivers run red lights and stop signs, so why rely on the symbols and signs to tell us it’s safe to cross? Compare the vehicle’s movement to the stationary items they’re passing to determine if they are stopping or not.
It’s time to use logic and common sense to keep ourselves safe on the roads; both as a driver and as a pedestrian. Start looking for dangers well before you reach them before you become a danger to yourself.