Now that summer is well and truly over and the clocks have reverted back to GMT, the nights will be drawing in. Statistically we see more incidents involving pedestrians and vulnerable road users from October to March than we do throughout the rest of the year. Most incidents happen between 3pm and 7pm and we need to take special care to look out for pedestrians when it’s dark. IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, shares tips for keeping pedestrians safe.
- Speed: When driving at 35mph, you are twice as likely to kill a pedestrian than you would be when driving at 30mph. Be more alert near schools; the only predictable thing about children is how unpredictable they can be. Remember: in these areas 20mph really is plenty.
- Children: They can be harder to see and may run out between parked vehicles. Remember to ‘Look OUT’: Over, Under and Through vehicles. You might just spot a child before they step into the road.
- Pedestrians: Pay attention to people who keep looking over their shoulder: they might be looking to cross the road. If you have a fair amount of space in front of you and vehicles following closely behind, the pedestrian may well run across rather than wait for all the traffic to come past. You also need to watch for mobile phone ‘zombies’: if you see someone fixated on their phone, they are not concentrating on the traffic, so be ready for them to just step out. If they are wearing headphones they will not hear you, and if you drive a ‘silent’ battery powered car you need to be especially careful around pedestrians.
- Stationary vehicles: When passing stationary vehicles, keep at least a door’s width whenever possible, not just for the car door that might open into your path but also to allow for someone or something emerging from between the vehicles.
- Parking: Be considerate about where you park. Parking too close to a junction can obstruct someone’s view and make it harder to turn safely. Also beware of obstructing pavements and dropped kerbs.
- Rain: When it’s raining and blowing a gale pedestrians are more likely to dash about, and road safety often falls lower on their list of priorities than trying to keep dry.
With the clocks having just gone back it can take cyclists a bit of time to get used to the fact that they need lights and they may forget to use them – remember to look out for cyclists in the period after sunset.
Richard said: “In a perfect world, it would be ideal if pedestrians would all stay on the pavement and would never need to cross a road; it would also be ideal if all pedestrians wore flashing high-vis. In reality, it is up to us to share the road and be aware and help where we can. An effort to be courteous will go a long way toward making someone’s day and will help keep us all safe.”