Edmonton, AB,

Colder, darker days spell trouble for pedestrians

Now that we’ve wound the clock back an hour, the commute home from work gets a little darker and a whole lot slicker. Drivers can install winter tires to get a grip on winter roads, but what can pedestrians do to be safer?

November is Pedestrian Safety month for good reason – pedestrian collisions tend to spike as the days draw shorter and the weather gets wintery. Teenaged pedestrians (age 15-19) are the most likely to be injured and the evening rush hour (3-7 p.m.) is when most pedestrian collisions occur. 96% of those collisions happen in urban areas and half of them (48%) involve drivers failing to yield the right of way to the pedestrian.

source: Alberta Traffic Collision Statistics 2014

AMA wants winter walkers to think like a school patroller. Walk, run or cycle safely through winter weather with these pedestrian tips:

Listen to your mother and dress for the weather

  • Dress warm and wear winter boots for better traction on snowy roads or icy sidewalks.
  • Most pedestrian collisions occur at dusk. Wear reflective clothing for low light conditions.
  • Avoid hats and scarves that interfere with peripheral vision.

Be a defensive walker and scan ahead for hazards

  • Walk like a ninja – be prepared to react quickly if a vehicle starts to slip and slide.
  • Plan your route to avoid uncontrolled intersections or busy traffic areas.
  • Leave the phone alone – avoid texting or other distractions that take your eyes off the path.

Don’t play chicken when you cross the road

  • Use crosswalks and pedestrian-activated signals. Jaywalkers are hard to spot so always cross at the corner. Stick to the sidewalks and double-check for vehicles in parking lots, alleys and driveways.
  • Point to indicate your intent to cross, pause to double-check and make eye contact with drivers, then proceed after all vehicles have come to a stop.
  • It takes longer for vehicles to brake on winter roads so play it safe and wait for traffic to pass.
  • Pop out your earbuds before crossing the street. Keep your tunes on low volume when walking near busy traffic areas.

Walk the line

  • Impaired drivers are a leading cause of death on Alberta roads. Watch for erratic behaviour and call 911 if you suspect an impaired driver.
  • In 2014, 10% of pedestrians involved in an injury collision were impaired by alcohol. In fatal collisions that number jumps to 33%. Play it safe – take a bus or call a taxi.

Contact the AMA Newsroom to request a pedestrian safety interview with a local AMA School Safety Patrol coordinator: 1-888-960-NEWS