STELLARTON – As the holidays approach, the Stellarton and Westville police would like to make everyone aware of crosswalk safety.
Sgt. Terry Cornett of the Stellarton Police Services stands at one of Stellarton’s crosswalks. The Stellarton and Westville police are reminding all motorists and pedestrians to be extra cautious this winter around crosswalks in the county. JOHN BRANNEN – THE NEWS
Communities do their best to establish marked crossings in areas that are safe to cross. Did you know that crosswalks are located at all intersections whether marked or unmarked?
The human body is no match for a motor vehicle, so both the driver and pedestrian must engage each other before crossing the street. It is the law for motorists to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk, but after an accident occurs, the law is little comfort to a pedestrian and their family who has been struck by a motor vehicle. It is also the law that pedestrians must give the motorists time to stop their vehicles. The crosswalk is not an iron wall; do not dart out into the street.
Crossing the street is a reaction between both the pedestrians and the motorists. It takes everyone’s co-operation to prevent a serious accident. Pedestrians must ensure they allow enough time for the motorists to stop and the motorist must drive defensively to watch for pedestrians. To be safe the pedestrian must wait for the vehicles to stop in all directions. The pedestrian should establish eye contact with the drivers, so they know each other is aware. If you cannot see the eyes of the driver, you have no idea whether you have been seen. When one vehicle has stopped, look both ways and engage the driver coming from the opposite direction.
This time of year, it gets dark early and most days are clouded over, which makes visibility difficult. Parked cars near the crosswalk, bad weather and poor lighting conditions can also make crossings more dangerous. If the pavement is wet or there is snow or ice on the street, motor vehicles require a greater stopping distance and motorists should judge their driving accordingly.
Crosswalks around our schools are congested with children traveling to and from school. Be extremely cautious as children’s concentration can be distracted. School crossing guards are posted at crosswalks near the school, their crossings and clothing are marked with fluorescent green. They are familiar with pedestrian and traffic flow around their crossing. You are required by law to follow their direction.
Winter driving requires extra precaution when travelling on streets. Whether you are a pedestrian, cyclists or motorists, be careful and conscious of your surroundings.
TIPS FOR PEDESTRIANS:
(1) Always cross at a crosswalk. The motor vehicle act defines a crosswalk location at intersections, whether it is marked or not. Intersections are designed and regulated to prevent parking, obstructions. Intersections are usually well lighted and present the most visibility. Motorists should always expect activity at an intersection.
(2) Obey pedestrian signals and look in both directions to ensure it is safe. If a vehicle is coming, make sure vehicles in all directions stop. Establish eye contact with the drivers so everyone is aware of your intentions. Never assume that the driver has seen you and intends to stop or intends to remain stopped.
(3) At night be conscious of what you wear. If it is poor lighting or bad weather conditions, you will be hard to see in dark clothing.
(4) Pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks. It is illegal for a pedestrian to walk out into traffic without giving the motorists time to react and stop. All vehicles have a distance required in order for them to stop. This distance is increased by speed and road conditions. Do not dart out into traffic, the motorist has to be able to react and stop.
TIPS FOR DRIVERS:
(1) You must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Crosswalks are located at all intersections and can be marked or unmarked. Crosswalks can be located at other places on the street, but must be clearly marked.
(2) Come to a complete stop for pedestrians and do not proceed until the pedestrian has crossed safely one lane past the lane you are in. Ensure oncoming vehicles stop before you proceed. Moving your vehicle may distract oncoming drivers.
(3) Drive according to road conditions. The condition of the road surface will determine the distance you will need to stop. Wet pavement, snow and ice will drastically increase that distance.
(4) Do not pass a vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk or intersection. This is an illegal action and is extremely dangerous. Never pass on the inside shoulder.