Road Safety: Steps Everyone Can Take to Prevent Pedestrian Accidents

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Written By: Joseph A. Cescon and Nicole Kiselyov, Summer Student

Pedestrians are amongst the most vulnerable road users- six people are hit by a car every day in Toronto [1]. Unfortunately, when a 3,000-pound object comes into contact with a person, the results are predictable and bleak for the pedestrian.

It is important that individuals remain safe on our roadways. As the weather warms and summer dawns, more and more people are enjoying their time throughout the cities where they reside, as stay at home measures are reduced.

Last week, a young 17-year-old girl and her 19-year-old sister were struck by a left-turning vehicle in a hit-and-run, as they crossed the road. The 17-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene while her sister suffered non-life-threatening injuries [2].

Pedestrians rarely expect such tragedies, especially when they’re following the rules of the road. Unfortunately, as we all know, mistakes can happen in an instant and can result in serious injury or death. Particularly now, as COVID restrictions are loosened, and road users are back en masse, it is important for pedestrians and drivers alike to be vigilant.

Advice for Drivers:

  • Be Attentive! – Drivers must be aware of their surroundings. It is important to be aware of other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users.
  • Don’t Rush! – We know that everyone leads busy lives but it is important to exercise caution and care. When turning, for example, drivers should wait until the pedestrian has crossed over to the other side of the street before proceeding. At crosswalks, the law requires drivers, including cyclists to stop and yield the whole roadway.
  • Drive Accordingly! – When driving near schools, playgrounds, residential neighborhoods, and other locations where children are present, reduce your speed, kids can be unpredictable.
  • It Can Wait! – No matter what, never use your phone while driving. It takes a split second to hit someone, your attention should be on the road at all time. No text is worth a life – use your Do not Disturb While Driving feature on your mobile device, here’s How: iPhone users https://support.apple.com/en-ca/guide/iphone/iphae754533b/ios  Android users:  https://support.google.com/pixelphone/answer/9140827?hl=en

Advice for Pedestrians:

  • Look Both Ways! – We are taught from a young age to look both ways before crossing the road. It is important to always do this, no matter how familiar you are with the area or how calm the road may appear.
  • Make Eye Contact! – When crossing the street always be aware of drivers. If cars are waiting to turn right, for example, making eye contact with the driver before crossing can be helpful. This way, you know they see you and acknowledge that you’re going to cross.
  • Use the Sidewalk! – You are safer on the sidewalk. If there is a sidewalk, use it. If you absolutely need to walk on the road, walk against the direction of traffic so you can see oncoming traffic at all times.
  • Be Seen! – If you’re walking at night, avoid dark clothing. Wear bright or reflective clothing to ensure you are visible to drivers.

Find more pedestrian tips HERE and check out some myths that pertain to pedestrian safety HERE.

[1]  https://torontolife.com/city/six-people-are-hit-by-a-car-each-day-in-toronto-we-know-how-to-fix-it-so-why-dont-we/

[2] https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2020/06/07/one-teen-dead-another-pedestrian-in-hospital-after-hit-and-run-in-north-york.html 

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