Pedestrians’ rules can keep them on safe side

Grim statistics back up the state Department of Transportation’s plea for

safety-conscious pedestrians and drivers.

Hawai’i averages more than 20

pedestrians killed in traffic accidents each year. Most of the fatalities were

people 60 or older, according to DOT information accompanying a statewide

campaign for driver and pedestrian awareness.

Equally startling are results

of a DOT survey. Among other things, almost half of the people polled said they

sometimes cross streets without using crosswalks. And nearly 60 percent of

drivers said they stop for pedestrians whether the hoofers are in or out of a

crosswalk. But what about the other 40 percent? Is it any wonder that

pedestrians don’t always reach their destinations safely?

Young

schoolchildren are a key population segment that DOT’s pedestrian-safety

campaign is trying to reach. But general safety guidelines apply equally to

pedestrians of all ages.

They and drivers may have forgotten what they

learned at a young age. Shall we?

* Pedestrians should cross only at

crosswalks (jaywalking is a potential ticket to the hospital, or worse), obey

all traffic laws and signals, face oncoming traffic when walking, never enter

the street or crosswalk unless vehicles have come to a complete stop, make eye

contact with drivers, look both ways for vehicles (including ones that might be

turning), and wear bright clothing when walking at night.

* Drivers should

slow down and prepare to stop for pedestrians waiting at a crosswalk, keep an

eye out for other vehicles stopped at a crosswalk, watch for children near

schools, parks, playgrounds and residential neighborhoods, and make eye contact

with pedestrians and signal them to cross by waving.

Simple rules, all of

them. And like the old saying, the simpler the better, especially for keeping

people safe on the roads.

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