Do pedestrians lack road-manners?
We are all pedestrians at some point, so please don’t write back complaining of driver arrogance. And I’m writing this as a concerned citizen, having seen the situation both as a pedestrian and as a driver.
Basic as they may be, these tips are meant to prevent you from becoming someone’s bloodied hood ornament:
• Ensure to cross roads at marked pedestrian crossings or traffic signals. Otherwise, look for a section of road where the traffic slows down sufficiently, ideally where the traffic is heavy or road conditions force vehicles to slow down. You can never run faster than a car, so just don’t!
• Wearing headphones and using a mobile phone will reduce your awareness of what is happening around you. Those cool noise cancellation headphones will render you deaf to warning hoots that could save your life.
• If you have been drinking alcohol and have wisely decided to walk, do so by staying on footpaths and crossing at designated points. A drunken dance in the middle of the street no matter how well executed, will quickly end in tears, and probably, blood.
• If there’s no footpath or nature strip, walk facing oncoming traffic. This should be commonsense but if a car loses control behind you, your shattering spine will be the first sign you are giving up your ghost!
• When walking in the dark, carry a torch so you can still see the ground when confronted with headlight glare. Additionally, it makes sense to wear a high visibility jacket.
• Be extra cautious near crests of hills and curves. If a vehicle approaches ensure you have a safe escape and be prepared to use it, especially on rural roads where there are no shoulders or sidewalks.
• Never assume a driver is seeing you. In fact, if you want to really take control, either as a rider or walker, research on vehicle blind spots. You’ll be surprised how many places you’re simply invisible to a driver, especially trucks and lorries.
Author: Stephen Mbuthi