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Many people know the horror of fatal accidents on our roads. Of the 10 thousand killed every year, more than 40% are pedestrians. Drivers MUST avoid pedestrians - though they are the least regulated or controlled of road users. They are the most difficult to persuade into safer road conduct. Neither the law, nor protective measures built onto our roads seem able to make impression.
On the other hand, pedestrians can misjudge the speed and distance of oncoming vehicles. A misunderstanding or non - adherence to basic rules of the road can lead to crashes.
The law states that where there is a pavement, no pedestrian should walk in the roadway. Pedestrians are advised to use pavements where available.
It is a strategic document of the National Department of Transport which mandates a set of coordinated actions that the Department will begin to lay secure foundations for law compliance, responsibility and mutual respect on South Africa's roads. It focuses on creating systems and structures that work, and enforcement and adjudication measures that will bite. The strategy identify six interlocking and overlapping focal areas requiring intervention in terms of both systems and structures and one of the six areas is Pedestrian safety and fitness [ safer road usage by pedestrians]
Where there is no pavement, walk as far as possible to the right -hand side of the road , facing oncoming traffic. You are surely out of the way and can see vehicles long before they are close to you. You cannot be surprised by something coming up behind you - and if anything looks dangerous, you have enough time to step even further away from the road.
When you use the pavement, remember to share the space with others. If other pedestrians have to step around you into the street - perhaps because you're chatting to friends or shopping on the street, you could cause them to be involved in an accident. How would you feel if you caused someone's injury or death?
Many pedestrians are killed or injured by crossing the road carelessly. There is one simple rule
When you intend crossing the street at a bus/ taxi stop, make sure that the straight section of the road you choose is clear of packed or stationary vehicles(which blocks your view). They will block your view of fast moving traffic that might not see you approaching on time.
Controlled crossings are the safest places to cross the street. Children in particular are safer when they are in the company of parents or adults who show them how to cross the street.
Where there is no special place to cross, such s in rural areas, look for a straight stretch of road away from sharp bends or anything that blocks your view such as bushes, hills, slopes or rises. When you cross, you must be able to see clearly in both directions.
Pedestrian Facilities such as pedestrian bridges are safe to use when crossing a busy road or a freeway. No pedestrian is allowed on a freeway. Where there are no pedestrian bridges ensure that you only cross when it is safe to do so. Keep on looking in both directions while crossing.
"See and Be Seen" is always the rule for crossing the street. This means that crossing suddenly in front of, behind or from between parked vehicles can get you killed. Watch what is happening. Establish eye contact with drivers passing parked or stationary vehicles where you want to cross. Make sure that they can see you - then take all the usual precautions before crossing the road. Never run across, and always cross in a straight line rather than crossing diagonally. Remember, the straightest is the shortest. Crossing at an angle means you are on the road for longer than necessary - and at greater risk of being hit. Jay-walking, which is how some pedestrians choose to take chances by crossing the street, between intersections and through moving traffic, is extremely dangerous. Even if you are super-alert, traffic moves faster than you - and you will be involved in an accident. Vehicles suddenly coming out of concealed driveways are always a danger if you are unobservant on the pavement. Always stop and look - EXPECT vehicles to drive out of driveways - especially when your view is obstructed by big walls or high objects like trucks or buses.
You are always safer at a marked pedestrian crossing, but even then, do not expect drivers to stop for you. They may not notice you or not watching properly. Always remember to stop, look for turning vehicles from ahead and behind you and make sure the traffic has stopped before you start crossing. Keep a good look out all the time. Never run - walk briskly.
Wear white or light coloured clothing at night. In areas where there are no street lights motorists cannot see you. You can also make yourself more visible to traffic by carrying a white object in you hand. Where there is no pavement, walk as far as possible to the right-hand side, facing oncoming traffic. Do not walk on the left side of the road because it is not safe and avoid the above actions all the time when you are walking on the road. In this way you will see traffic approaching and you will be able to take action should motorists not see you or steer to avoid you. In rainy weather, carrying an open umbrella makes it difficult for you to see vehicles. To be safe, look everywhere, all the time.
Alcohol affects every part of the brain. So do most drugs. What you see and what you think you see become totally different things. Even ordinary movements, like getting up and walking, become difficult and hazardous. You are not in control of what you do - or of what is happening around you.
If you have been drinking or taking drugs or medication, do not drive or walk on the road. Stay over where you are, get a lift, take a taxi home or ask someone who has not been drinking to take you home. It could save a life. Probably yours. Do not drink and walk.
Alcohol has a negative effect on your co-ordination, hearing, sight and ability to judge speed and distance of oncoming vehicles.
A lot of people believe that taking a cold shower, drinking black coffee, exposure to cold air or exercising can sober you up quickly. These are all untrue. The only safe and sure way to sober up is by sleeping. If you choose to drink, remember to eat sufficient food before and in-between your drinks. This at least slows down the effects of alcohol. Do not drink and walk.
Don't Drink and Drive or Walk
Wear your Seatbelt
Ensure Driver and Vehicle Fitness
Promote Pedestrian Safety
Original version compiled by
Section Education And Communication:
Division Road Traffic Management
Department of Transport - R.S.A
In conjunction with Provincial Departments of Transport