Tag Archives | pedestrians
Pedestrian splashing is no joke
As you concentrate on the road in wet weather you should be especially aware of pedestrians. While you might think ‘well, it’s raining, of course people will get wet, splashing is normal and unavoidable’, if it’s you that’s soaking pedestrians as you drive past, under the Road Traffic Act 1988 you are driving illegally as it amounts to driving ‘without reasonable consideration for other persons’. Should you splash pedestrians, you can be fined for ‘an act of incompetence, selfishness, impatience or aggressiveness’. On top of a Fixed Penalty Notice, you risk penalty points on your licence making your discourteous driving no joke. This is just one of the hazards of driving in wet weather when road surfaces can be unpredictable. However, it doesn’t have to be raining to splash someone. Large elongated puddles can build up around blocked drains which are clearly visible to the motorist, so there’s no excuse not to slow down and wait to drive around the puddle or drive slowly through it to avoid drenching anyone on the pavement or footpath. Puddle rage can lead to substantial fines. The best advice is always to be extra cautious when there are pedestrians around.
Do a good turn
Failing to correctly and safely indicate when turning near pedestrians could lead to a fine, nine points on your licence and even disqualification. According to the Highway Code, you must always: ‘Warn and inform other road users, including pedestrians, of your intended actions.’ When turning into a side street, if a pedestrian has already started to cross the road you should allow them to cross safely as they have the right of way. Again, you should also be aware of pedestrians who are looking to cross the street, and clearly indicate to let them know of your decision to turn. While failing to indicate is not an offence in itself, should it lead to an incident with a pedestrian or colliding with another road user, it could be deemed careless or dangerous driving. Best advice: always signal your intentions to other road users clearly, including pedestrians. Failing to do so may mean you fall below the threshold of being a careful, competent driver and you could receive a ‘driving without due care and attention’ charge.
Clearer night vision
Driving at night can be a challenge due to the reduction in visibility of other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians and headlight glare. A few simple maintenance tricks can make night-time driving safer and easier. Many drivers neglect cleaning their car windows and although this basic maintenance sounds obvious, it’s not necessarily about the dirt you can see on the windows.
The front windscreen in particular gets dirty on the outside, but can also acquire a thin hazy film on the inside. This can be due to smoking and car heaters, but also something called ‘outgassing’ caused by plastic vinyls releasing plasticisers into your car’s interior.
Plasticisers provide interior vinyl plastics with flexibility and durability but are released into the air, particularly on warmer days and can cover the inside windscreen (and other windows) in a waxy thin covering. This waxy film is hardly noticeable during daylight, but reduces visibility when driving at night as it becomes noticeable in the increased glare from other vehicles’ headlights. Fortunately, this film can be easily removed by a water and vinegar solution.
Don’t be annoying
There are some bad driving habits which annoy everyone on the road, so don’t fall into these traps. One particularly irritating habit is nudging pedestrians. Gaining a couple of seconds by edging on to the pedestrian crossing might not seem like a bad driving habit, but from a pedestrian’s perspective it’s not fun dodging cars as you cross a busy road, and it can feel intimidating, especially for someone who can’t walk well. Most of the time pedestrians are moving as fast as they can, so be patient and give them time to cross.
Playing loud music in your car can also irritate others and makes you less aware of your surroundings. Importantly, you are obliged to turn the music off when an emergency vehicle approaches.
Watch out for joggers
With warmer weather and longer daylight hours, more people are out on the roads so be prepared to give them extra space and consideration:
- Look well ahead to see joggers, pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists early
- Look for signs of distraction – are they wearing earphones? If so, they may be distracted, so give them plenty of room
- Be prepared for them to make unexpected changes of direction without looking first (expect the unexpected!)
- Remember they may not hear you (their music may be too loud) so sounding a horn is not necessarily going to alert them to your presence
- On country roads there may be runners round any bend – so drive in a way that allows you to deal with this safely