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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.
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