Pedestrians need to look up from their phones: Roadshow

Distracted walkers create collision risks, too

Q: I believe it is critical to remind pedestrians how to cross streets safely. I can’t find anything about it anywhere.

So many pedestrians ignore what’s going on around them while crossing the street, staring at or talking on their phones. It’s extremely dangerous.

Georgia Schumann’s

A: That is a critical point. Distraction is a major risk for all road users, including pedestrians. We are all responsible for making roads safe for everyone.

Bicyclists and pedestrians are referred to on the CHP website as “vulnerable road users.” They are due to the increased risk of injury or death in the event of a collision with a vehicle. The website includes videos that demonstrate pedestrian safety practices and why they are important. Check out this page for more information on bicyclist and pedestrian safety:

Q: My mother taught me as a child to make eye contact with drivers to ensure they saw me before crossing the street.

— Georgia Schumann

A: She was correct. It’s one of the DMV’s pedestrian safety recommendations. Here’s some more:

When you are walking:

  • Be consistent. Follow the traffic laws and obey all signs and signals.
  • Take the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk and you must walk on the street, face traffic. Walk as far away from traffic as you can.
  • Cross at the intersection. Wherever possible, cross at crosswalks or intersections. Drivers expect to see pedestrians here.
  • Come to a halt at the curb.
  • Look to the left, right, and left again. Cars can cover a long distance in a matter of seconds. You might not notice them unless you look to the left again.
  • Make direct eye contact. Never assume that drivers will see you. Make certain that you are noticed.
  • Keep your eyes up, your ears open, and your phone away from you. When crossing the street, do not talk, text, or listen to music.
  • Take precautions. Be noticed. During the day, dress brightly. Wear reflective clothing or carry a flashlight at night.

When you are driving:

  • Maintain vigilance while driving. Keep an eye out for pedestrians. When they cross the street, come to a complete stop.
  • Take your time. The faster you accelerate, the slower you react and brake. Slow down in areas where pedestrians are likely to be present.
  • Never drive past a car that has stopped for pedestrians. It’s illegal, and it’s extremely dangerous for people crossing the street. Never pass a stopped vehicle at a crosswalk. There could be people crossing who you are not aware of.
  • When backing up, be extra cautious. Pedestrians may cross your path or enter your blind spots.
  • Distractions should be avoided. Don’t let your phone or anything else take your attention away from the road and those around you.

Check here for DMV bicyclist and pedestrian safety tips:

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