Keep pedestrians safe after dark

Now winter is well and truly and the nights are drawing in, motorists need to be more aware of pedestrians and vulnerable road user.

More occur from October to March than throughout the rest of the year. Most happen between 3pm and 7pm, and motorists need to take special care to look out for pedestrians when it is dark.

IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, shares tips for keeping pedestrians safe.

Speed: When driving at 35mph (or 56kph ), a motorist is twice as likely to kill a pedestrian, then when driving at 30mph (or 48kph ). Be more alert near schools, the only predictable thing about children is how unpredictable they can be. Remember, in these areas 20mph (or 32kmh ) is 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. A motorist may 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 motorists have a fair amount of space in front and vehicles are following closely behind, the pedestrian may well run across rather than wait for all the traffic to come past. Motorists also need to watch for mobile phone ‘zombies’ - if someone is fixated on their phone, they are not concentrating on the traffic, so be ready for them to just step out.

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 is raining and blowing a gale, pedestrian 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 Gladman says 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.”


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