There is great responsibility in sitting behind the wheel of a moving car. Apart from ensuring your safety, there is an additional need to protect other lives on the road. The basic requirements include caution, vigilance, quick reaction time, and ample knowledge of road traffic regulations.
Unfortunately, some groups are labeled as vulnerable road users and are the most at risk of accidents. For example, over 130,000 cyclists are injured on the road annually. If you want to ensure the safety of these vulnerable groups, these tips can help.
How Drivers Can Ensure The Safety Of Vulnerable Road Users: Pedestrians
It is not hard to understand why pedestrians are considered vulnerable road users. They are unprotected and risk life-altering injuries if knocked down by moving vehicles. In extreme cases, many lose their lives instantly or from complications arising from sustained injuries. As a driver, a pedestrian knockdown can be a scary experience that could impact your confidence on the road. Although there is always the risk of an accident, you can minimize the chances by being extra vigilant, especially in places where pedestrians are likely to be.
This includes residential areas, crosswalks, busy streets, and school zones. Especially with the latter, driving with a heightened sense of awareness is vital because children in school zones may cross from your blindside. One life-saving tactic in heavy pedestrian areas is to reduce your speed and use great personal judgment to maneuver such places.
Cyclists & motorbike riders
Cyclists are described as vulnerable groups, almost the same as pedestrians. Except for protective helmets that some wear, cyclists are also at the mercy of the road. Although federal law requires children under 18 years to wear a protective helmet when riding, many adults forgo it. The few who do might be professional bike riders. The scary thing about cyclists is that they almost always appear from a driver’s blind spot. This is why using your rearview and side mirrors effectively when changing lanes or negotiating a curve is essential.
According to Wikipedia, the law doesn’t necessarily prevent cyclists from riding in the middle of the road. Although there is some regulation about riding as far to the right as possible, it is only meant to give way to vehicles on the left, but you must know that some riders get into the middle of the road. When that happens, the law stipulates giving the same distance as another car driving before you. A bike accident can be fatal, so you must exercise extreme caution on the road.
Safety of vulnerable road users: the elderly
Senior citizens often deal with impaired mobility, vision, and judgment, which can become hindrances on the road. If you’ve been driving for a while, you might have noticed how long it takes for older adults to cross the road or hear the honks from vehicles. Some might even underestimate the proximity of a moving car and attempt to cross to the other side. As a driver, you need the utmost patience to deal with such events. Without that, the risk of knocking down a senior citizen is incredibly high, and you will face the full rigors of the law.
Considering that about 200,000 senior citizens rushed to emergency units for traffic-related injuries three years ago, there is a great need to do better. It starts with you and many other drivers who decide to be aware of their surroundings on the road. It is also worth noting that some negligent road mishaps can cost you your driver’s license.