The recent change to the clocks has meant darker evenings are upon us and, with many motoring groups and campaigners highlighting the increased rate of accidents following the change to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the onus is on drivers to keep a wary eye out for vulnerable pedestrians.
The latest Department for Transport figures showed a 10 per cent rise in pedestrian fatalities year on year, which contributed to overall road deaths hitting a five-year high.
Neil Worth, road safety officer for motoring organisation GEM warned last week: “Dark spells danger for pedestrians. There is a 10 per cent rise in fatal pedestrian collisions during the four weeks after the clocks go back. This is bad news when the latest casualty figures already show a 10 per cent rise in pedestrian fatalities year on year.”
Drivers need to do their bit
While pedestrians need to take some responsibility for their own safety, drivers must also do their part to keep British roads safe, according to Richard Gladman, head of driving and riding standards at road safety charity IAM RoadSmart:”In a perfect world pedestrians would all be on the pavement and would never have to cross a road.
“In a near perfect one a pedestrian on a road would be wearing flashing high viz and your car would be shouting about their presence – in our real world it is up to us to share the road space, be aware and help where we can. An effort to be courteous will go a long way to making someone’s day and will help keep us all safe.”
Here, Richard gives his tips for how drivers can help keep pedestrians safe:
“Dark spells danger for pedestrians. There is a 10 per cent rise in fatal pedestrian collisions during the four weeks after the clocks go back. This is bad news when the latest casualty figures already show a 10 per cent rise in pedestrian fatalities year on year.”
- Keep an eye on your speed, remember you are twice as likely to kill a pedestrian driving at 35 as you are if driving at 30mph. Be especially aware near schools, the only predictable thing about children is how unpredictable they can be. Remember 20 in these areas really is plenty.
- Children can be harder to see and may run out between parked vehicles, remember to ‘LOOK OUT’ (over, under and through) vehicles, you might just spot someone before they step out.
- Some pedestrians give a tell-tale sign of what they are about to do – look out for people who keep looking over their shoulder, they might be looking to cross the road. If you have a generous space in front of you and vehicles behind you they may well run across rather than wait for all the traffic to come past. You also need to watch for mobile phone ‘zombies’, if you see someone concentrating on their phone they are not concentrating on the traffic, be ready for them to just step out.
- When passing stationary vehicles keep at least a door’s width whenever possible, not just for the car door that might open into your path; also for someone or something coming out into your path from between the vehicles.
- Be considerate where you park, parking too close to a junction can obstruct someone’s view and make it harder to see, also be aware of not obstructing pavements and dropped kerbs.
- When it’s raining and blowing a gale pedestrians are more likely to dash about and road safety often falls lower on their list of priorities than trying to keep dry.
- With the clocks just gone back it can take children on bikes a bit of time to get used to the fact they need lights and can often get caught out being out without lights – make sure your children are aware of the need for lights on their bikes.