Pedestrians account for more than a third of road fatalities in South Africa. 1 This is a really shocking statistic; however, it is caused by pedestrians not following or obeying the rules of the road. Unfortunately, pedestrians may not realise that they are putting themselves, and other road users, at risk when disobeying the rules of the road.
It is illegal for pedestrians to walk or run across any national highway or road, but unfortunately, enforcement of this law is very poor. This leads to a lot of risk taking and dangerous road crossing by pedestrians. 1
Pedestrians need to be better educated on the rules of the road and need to make themselves more visible to motorists. Here are some tips on how pedestrians can better protect themselves.
Tips for Pedestrians1
- Distractions: When walking, using your electronic devices can be a great distraction and can make you unaware of what is going on around you. Rather put your device away and be more vigilant of your surroundings.
- Built-up areas: There will be more people in a built-up area making it more dangerous when walking. This can cause you to be distracted, therefore concentrating less on cars passing by.
- Schools: Surrounded by classmates when entering or exiting a school and crossing the road can be very distracting. Make sure to cross the road at a scholar patrol or zebra crossing. As a motorist, you should stop at these points, making it safer for pedestrians to cross.
- Taxi and Buses: When crossing the road near a taxi or bus, it makes it very difficult to see if there is an oncoming car. Be vigilant and make sure to check both sides before crossing. Don’t be distracted either.
- Poor visibility: Unfortunately, most pedestrians wear very dark clothing. Try and invest in a reflective vest to be more visible.
- Crossing roads: By law, it is illegal to cross a national highway or road. But it will be acceptable if your car breaks down and you need to cross the road to get to safety.
- Educate: Make sure to educate yourself on the rules of the road.
- Intoxication: When travelling by foot, don’t do drugs or drink alcohol. You will endanger yourself by potentially stumbling into the road and into oncoming traffic.
- Sidewalks: When walking, remember to use the pavements as they are much safer. If there are no pavements, try and walk as far left of the road as possible.
- Gambling: Don’t gamble with your life. When trying to walk through traffic always use a zebra crossing for your own safety.
What to do if a Motorist Hits a Pedestrian? 2
It is most unfortunate if a motorist hits a pedestrian by accident. But what should you do, as a motorist, if you are involved in such an accident? Here are some tips to follow:
- Stop your car immediately (presuming it is safe to do so).
- Call emergency services and traffic police to report the accident.
- Check on the pedestrian to see how bad the injuries are.
- Try and assist the injured as much as you possibly can.
- Remember to share all your details with traffic officers.
- Remember to report the accident within 24 hours if there is an injury or death.
- Lastly, don’t move your vehicle from the accident scene until traffic officers have completed their investigation. If your car is obstructing traffic, move your car so that traffic can flow again.
Both pedestrians and motorist alike have obligations when it comes to road safety.
Pedestrians, please be careful and obey the rules of the road. Motorists, please be mindful and careful to not cause any harm to pedestrians by disobeying the rules of the road.
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This article was prepared by Eric Sandmann in his personal capacity. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views and opinions of Prime Meridian Direct (Pty) Ltd, FSP41040 (car insurance and life cover products). The views and opinions in the article should not be attributed to anyone but the author unless expressly stated. Nothing in this article should be relied upon as advice, this publication is presented for informational purposes only. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found in this article, without first obtaining proper financial advice from the appropriate professional. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, or completeness, of any information linked from, referred to, or contained in this article. The author reserves the right, to edit and change the content of this article.
— Arrive Alive (@_ArriveAlive) June 11, 2019