ICBC Road Safety Coordinator
WITH fall comes Diwali, the festival of lights, a wonderful celebration to spend with family and friends as we get ready to settle in for darker, cooler days.
Diwali also signals the championing of light over darkness, which is great timing here in B.C. as it’ll soon be much darker outside with the end of Daylight Savings Time. Unfortunately at this time of year crashes involving pedestrians in B.C. significantly increase as the visibility on our roads worsens due to the dark and rainy weather conditions.
To help educate the public, my road safety colleagues and our partners will be in many B.C. communities this fall handing out free safety reflectors. You can attach the easy-to-use device to your clothing or gear, so no matter what you’re wearing; you’ll be easier to see on the road.
While pedestrians need to make sure they’re visible to drivers – drivers play a key role in preventing these crashes. It only takes a few extra seconds to slow down as you approach an intersection and check twice to make sure it’s clear of pedestrians before you proceed. It’s much harder to see pedestrians in the dark and at dusk so give yourself extra room so you can stop suddenly if needed. Stay focused on the road and off your phone or other distracting devices. And be ready to yield to pedestrians especially in and around transit areas where they may not use crosswalks.
Even if you don’t think of yourself as a pedestrian, consider all of the activities you do that start or end with a walk and keep these tips in mind:
*Look. Always make eye contact with drivers. Don’t assume the driver has seen you.
*Listen. Focus on what’s happening around you. Remove headphones and never talk, text or use electronic devices in an intersection or while crossing.
*Be seen. Wear reflective clothing or use reflective gear to make it easier for drivers to see you.
*Before stepping off the curb and crossing, make sure that vehicles in all lanes are fully stopped.
*Be extra cautious at intersections. Watch for vehicles turning left or right through the crosswalk.
*Always cross at designated crosswalks – never mid-block.
If you’re a driver, help make this year’s Diwali both a safe and memorable one, and do your part this fall and winter to help share our roads safely with everyone. Aim to always be a safe pedestrian and look, listen and be seen.