The turning of summer into fall makes pedestrians more vulnerable.
According to ICBC, nearly half of all crashes – 45 per cent – involving pedestrians happen between October and January. “Even when drivers proceed with caution, it’s hard to see pedestrians when visibility is poor,” said ICBC in a background piece. Collisions injure 2,600 and kill 57 pedestrians on average each year in British Columbia. Canada-wide, 332 pedestrians died in 2018, according to Transport Canada’s national collision database, in accounting for 17.3 per cent of fatalities that year.
If the vulnerability of pedestrians changes with the seasons, the geography of crashes involving pedestrians remains relatively constant. According to ICBC, almost eight out of 10 – 78 per cent – of crashes involving pedestrians happen at intersections.
This reality creates certain obligations for drivers, but also pedestrians, starting with maintaining the focus on the road.
Drivers should be ready to yield to pedestrians, especially when turning at intersections and near transit spots, said ICBC’s backgrounder. “If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding to a pedestrian.”
Drivers should also expect the unexpected as pedestrians may not be crossing within a crosswalk.
Pedestrians, meanwhile, should always use crosswalks and follow the pedestrian signs and traffic signals. “Be careful at intersections,” it reads. “Watch for drivers turning left or right through the crosswalk.
Drivers may be focused on oncoming traffic and not see you.”
Pedestrians should also make eye contact with drivers, as it is hard to see pedestrians when visibility is poor in the fall and winter. “Never assume that a driver has seen you,” it reads. “Be as reflective as possible to make it easier for drivers to see you in wet weather, at dusk and at night.”
The backgrounder also encourages both drivers and pedestrians to refrain from using electronic devices. “Always leave your phone alone while driving,” it reads.
As for pedestrians, they should remove their headphones and take a break from their phones while crossing the road, it states.
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