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Safety Tips for Orange County Drivers and Pedestrians

Image courtesy of “foto76”; freedigitalphotos.net

In our last post, we discussed a recent accident involving a 23 year old man driving down East Coast Highway in Corona del Mar, hitting and killing a pedestrian who was jogging in the bike lane.

We already commented on the fact that this is yet another sad instance of a young person being involved in such a tragic road accident, as teenagers and young adults are the most dangerous group of people in America to get behind the wheel.

So, in this post we are going to focus on safety tips for Orange County drivers and pedestrians. This is especially important for beginner drivers, because they are often very focused on themselves and other drivers, and may neglect the possibility for pedestrians or cyclists on the road, a plentiful population in many parts of Orange County.

Pedestrians should always travel against traffic.

The Daily Pilot article reported that the jogger was in the bike lane when he was struck. This indicates he was running with traffic. For optimal safety, pedestrians should always walk or jog against (facing) oncoming traffic.

The article also indicated the accident happened at night. Pedestrians need to be aware that accidents involving drunk drivers are about 5 times more likely to happen at night (source: lifetips.com), so take extra precautions and be on the alert for cars driving erratically or at higher speeds.

For overall safety of pedestrians at night, wear light colors and reflectors to make yourself readily visible to motorists. Stay in well-lit areas as much as possible. Don’t wear headphones, travel on sidewalks or pedestrian paths, and only cross at designated crosswalks.

Nevertheless, pedestrians always have the right of way.

So before you yell at someone for jaywalking or running in the bike lane, or whatever the case may be – remember, pedestrians always have the right of way. ALWAYS. Yes, even if they are doing it wrong.

If you’re behind the wheel, you have a legal obligation to watch out for pedestrians, period, end of story.

Here are some tips for being extra aware of pedestrians around you:

  • When driving at night, be especially alert for the possible pedestrians around you.
  • Fully stop at all stop signs and crosswalks. Check your side view mirrors for approaching pedestrians, cyclists, or skateboarders before driving.
  • Slow down when you see pedestrians around. You never know when someone might enter an intersection without looking for oncoming traffic.
  • Slow down when driving through neighborhoods. Children can dart out after a ball or playing with their friends, without looking for oncoming traffic.
  • Be careful around parked cars along the curb. Children or pets have been known to dart out into the street and you didn’t even know they were there.
  • If you see a pedestrian, check to see if they are wearing headphones. If they are, be aware that they may not hear you approaching.
  • Do NOT text while driving. In the time it takes you to type a VERY short text message (even for you fast texters), a person can be crossing the street and you won’t have seen them.
  • Always obey posted speed limits, especially in school zones.
  • We shouldn’t have to say it, but PLEASE do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

We could go on, but hopefully that gives you a good idea about how to be safer around pedestrians. Remember, you are behind the wheel of a very powerful machine. You are faster and stronger than any person walking or biking, and one quick flash of distraction can change your life forever.

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