The safety of drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians relies on everyone sharing the road. It could be argued that drivers have the biggest responsibility because they’re the ones most likely to cause harm. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian fatalities remain high, with nearly 6,000 people killed on US roadways in 2017 and tens of thousands more injured. The next time you drive in a pedestrian-heavy area, such as around CSU campus in Fort Collins, keep these safe driving tips in mind.
Whether students are coming home from school in the afternoon or joggers are out for their morning run, pedestrians can show up on the street at any time. You never know when someone could cross your path unexpectedly, so always keep an eye out. Take safe driving very seriously around school zones, parks, and playgrounds where families and children may be crossing the street.
Also, remember to slow down in school zones when the lights on speed limit signs start flashing in the morning and afternoon. Don’t pass stopped school buses, whether you’re behind the bus or approaching it from the other direction. Children could dart into the street from difficult-to-see angles, which is why passing a school bus with its lights flashing is illegal.
Those white painted lines on the road don’t always command the respect they deserve. Crosswalks are designated places for pedestrians to cross the street legally. They cut down on jaywalking at risky locations, but they are only effective if drivers slow down. When you see a pedestrian approaching a crosswalk, you are obligated to stop and signal the person to cross.
All intersections, even unmarked ones, are considered crosswalks, so remember to give pedestrians the right-of-way. If you’re in the right turn lane, scan the area for pedestrians as you approach the intersection before pulling forward to turn.
Driveways and parking lots are low-speed areas where it seems injuries would be rare, but because they involve driving backward, you’re liable to hit someone if you’re not careful. To ensure safe driving, always back up slowly and check your side and rearview mirrors. If you have a backup camera, use this to help you detect any obstructions near the ground behind your vehicle, such as an animal or child.
Most pedestrians don’t wear reflective clothing when walking at night, which makes them difficult to see. For this reason, safe driving dictates that you should slow down on neighborhood streets after dark, especially in the summer when children may be out playing in the evening.
Winter weather driving presents the most hazardous conditions because snow lowers your visibility and ice lengthens your stopping distance. While pedestrians tend to be less plentiful when it’s cold, snowy, or rainy out, you must remain vigilant to ensure safe driving.
Distracted driving puts pedestrians and other drivers at risk. Since looking at a cell phone is one of the most distracting things you can do behind the wheel, make it a priority to tuck the device away while you’re driving. This helps you keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel so you can react quickly if a pedestrian runs out into the street.
You can follow all of these tips to a tee, but if your car is inherently unsafe, you could still pose a threat to pedestrians and other drivers. A tune-up at Scott’s Fort Collins Auto is the best way to catch and repair small problems with your car before they become safety hazards.
If you need car maintenance and repair services in Northern Colorado, let us know! You can schedule an appointment online, call us at (970) 682-4202 to let us know you’re coming, or swing by anytime between 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday or until 1 pm on Saturday.