The latest national survey from State Farm Canada shows that too many pedestrians engage in distracted walking. The results are alarming considering that dusk comes sooner now that clocks have fallen back to daylight standard time.
State Farm's Survey and Distracted Walking
When clocks fall back, we get to wake up to more sunlight, but it also means that dusk comes sooner. There's less light during the afternoon rush, which means more risk for pedestrians and drivers alike.
The latest survey results from State Farm Canada show that pedestrians aren't doing themselves any favours. Here are some findings from their online survey that was conducted in March of 2016.
- 56 per cent of Canadians don't think it's more dangerous to cross the road before and after daylight savings time begins and ends.
- Over 40 percent of Canadians admit to texting while walking.
- 1 in 4 Canadians always or often walk with headphones on.
- 40 percent admit they're not always cautious when they cross the road at dawn and dusk.
- 19 percent of Canadians say they don't always look both ways before crossing the street.
- More than 70 percent admit to jaywalking on occasion, particularly when they're in a hurry.
You should always be hyper-aware as a pedestrian and motorist. But it's important to take extra care during the days and weeks following a clock change. People need time to fully adjust to new sleep schedules and reduced light.
Distracted walking can be just as dangerous as distracted driving. You are putting yourself and motorists on the road at risk. When you combine distractions, such as texting and having headphones in, you are only exponentially increasing the risk associated with being a pedestrian.
Both drivers and pedestrians need to take steps to ensure safer travels. After all, safety is a two-way street.
Tips to Be a Safer Pedestrian
You can better protect yourself as a pedestrian by following a few simple practices.
- Pay Attention to Your Surroundings, Avoid Distractions - Forget the distracted walking and see and be seen. Make sure you are paying attention to what's going on around you - not just staring at your phone. You also need to do what you can to make sure that you are seen. Some good tips include wearing brighter or reflective clothing at times of reduced light, trying to stay in well lit areas, and carrying a flashlight or using the one on your smartphone.
- Follow the Rules of the Road - Always make sure that you are following traffic rules and using the signs and signals as designated. This means crossing at the crosswalks at intersections. And remember what we all are taught as children: always look both ways before crossing the street. You should make eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you is a good tip to follow. Don't assume or anticipate what a driver will do. You should also be using sidewalks whenever they are available. When one isn't, walk facing oncoming traffic.
But as a driver you also have a role to play in ensuring safety. Understand that pedestrians have a destination to get to as well and follow these tips:
- Be patient, focused and distraction-free, and obey the rules of the road.
- Be alert and on the look out for pedestrians at all times.
- Ensure your headlights and windshield wipers are working to improve visibility.
- Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks, and reduce your speed going through intersections.
- Stop with enough room between your car and the crosswalk.
Together, motorists and pedestrians can create a safer traveling environment.
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