In many cases, the roads we drive on every day aren’t limited to just other cars. There’s always the chance for pedestrians, joggers, cyclists, crews working on improving the roads, trucks and so much more to be alongside our cars. To reduce injury and accidents, it’s imperative that cars and all others on the road share the roads safely. In honor of the National Safety Council’s National Safety Month, we’re sharing some tips.
Know your Local Rules and Regulations
This goes both ways, if you are a driver or are sharing the road another way. It’s critical to know the local rules and regulations so you aren’t breaking the law, plus you’re staying safe. In some areas, it might be illegal for a pedestrian to be on the road, while in others, they’re allowed to be there. Some rules and regulations may even provide guidance on how a car should pass pedestrians and cyclists. Brushing up on the local regulations in the areas you are frequently driving in and following those laws is an easy way to stay safe.
Be Extra Cautious in Specific Areas
You should always be alert and keeping an eye out for anything that can suddenly jump into the road, but be extra cautious in areas like parking lots, school zones, parks or neighborhoods where there may be more instances of sharing the road. Slow down and keep an eye out for kids who may dart into the road unexpectedly or a cyclist who may swerve.
Pay very close attention when you’re in a parking lot. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 52% of all back-over injuries happen in parking lots, likely because it’s a large space filled with both cars and pedestrians. Without clear marked walkways or paths, confusion can arise. Take your time, drive slowly and be alert when in a parking lot.
Be Aware of Blind Spots
This is particularly critical with large trucks or buses, who have a number of blind spots. If you can’t see mirrors on a truck or bus, they cannot see you, and may be startled if you suddenly zoom around them. Give yourself plenty of space in between your car and a large truck or bus.
Pass with Caution
Sometimes you’ll need to pass a road obstruction like a cyclist or a truck doing road work. Make sure you’re doing it safely by following these tips:
- Allow extra space between your vehicle and the obstruction– especially with a cyclist or pedestrian.
- Slow down – this is probably the most important tactic. Be sure to slow down when approaching the obstruction as well as when passing it.
- Give pedestrians and cyclists the appropriate right of way. Legally, a cyclist is considered similar to a car, with the same rights and responsibilities, so they should be treated like another vehicle on the road.
In some cases, you’ll want to avoid passing an obstruction, like a school bus. Not only is passing a stopped school bus illegal, it’s extremely dangerous, as a large bus has plenty of blind spots that a child can dart out from.
Our roads are meant for everyone to enjoy safely, so use caution, reduce your speed and be alert to avoid accidents.