Sometimes, the best tips are the most obvious ones. If you live in a reasonably populated metropolitan area like Vancouver, then you may want to pay attention to some of these pointers. Naturally, the general advice will be a little different if you live out in the sticks and only encounter another car every half an hour. 🙂
1. Don’t Assume Right of Way
From a strictly legal perspective, the pedestrian generally has the right of way over any motor vehicle on the road. Yes, that’s true. However, it won’t really matter that much if you’re “right” when you happen to be dead.
Even if you are crossing at a designated crosswalk and the little man is saying that it’s safe for you to cross, still check if it is indeed safe to cross. You never know what could be barreling down the corner.
2. Make Eye Contact
So, you have the right of way and you see a car slowing down as it approaches the intersection. You assume that he’s going to come to a complete stop, because he obviously sees you, right? Wrong.
Until you’ve made eye contact with the driver, don’t assume that he or she sees you. He could be slowing down for any number of other reasons, so make sure that he’s stopping because of you.
3. Don’t Dart Out Between Parked Cars
We’ve all been guilty of jaywalking at more than one occasion, I’m sure. It’s not legal, but there are safe and unsafe ways to do it. One of the most unsafe ways is to dart out between parked cars and start running across the street between the traffic.
Don’t do it. The drivers on the road are much less likely to see (and react) to you in time. Even the people in Taipei know not to jaywalk. The drivers there (and in certain other cities) will have no hesitation about running you over.
4. Be Smart
And that’s really the take home message. Don’t assume that the driver sees you. Don’t assume that you have the right of way. Don’t run in between cars as they fly down the busy road, thinking that you have “enough” room to do so.
Look with your eyes and your brain, and you’ll make it to the other side just fine.