Pedestrian crashes inspire call for caution

After a number of fatal and near-fatal accidents on B.C. roads, ICBC and the BC Coroners Service are again reminding drivers and pedestrians to use extra care in the dark winter months.

Every year in December, on average, 269 pedestrians are injured and seven pedestrians are killed in B.C.

In the course of 12 days at the end of November and beginning of December, five pedestrians have been killed, all seniors between 73 and 87.

Langley has seen two recent incidents in which pedestrians were clipped by cars near intersections, but didn’t require hospitalization.

The recent pedestrian incidents across the province serve as a strong reminder that in these dark weather conditions and with the rainfall we’re experiencing, drivers need to use extra caution – especially in intersections – to help keep pedestrians safe, according to an ICBC statement.

In B.C., on average, 75 per cent of crashes involving pedestrians happen at intersections.

ICBC offered tips for both drivers and pedestrians:

Drivers

• Focus on the road, and stay off your phone or any other hand-held electronic devices while you’re driving.

• Be ready to yield to pedestrians – especially when turning in intersections and near transit stops.

• When turning left or right, look twice to make sure there are no pedestrians crossing.

• Give yourself extra time and space to stop as pedestrians are harder to see in fall and winter when conditions are poor.

Pedestrians

• Be extra cautious at intersections. Watch for vehicles turning left or right through the crosswalk. Drivers attention may be focused on oncoming traffic so they may not be looking for or see pedestrians in the crosswalk.

• Always cross at designated crosswalks – never mid-block. Follow pedestrian signs and traffic signals and never cross once the signal has turned yellow or red.

• Before stepping off the curb, look left and right for oncoming vehicles. Then look left and right again for vehicles that may be turning onto the roadway from beside or behind you. Make sure that vehicles in all lanes are fully stopped before crossing.

• Look. Always make eye contact with drivers. Never assume that a driver has seen you.

• Listen. Focus your full attention on what’s happening around you. Drivers may not always stop or obey traffic signals. Remove your headphones and never talk, text or use electronic devices in an intersection or while crossing.

• Be seen. Wear reflective clothing or use reflective gear to make it easier for drivers to see you. This is especially important in wet weather and in low light or dark conditions when drivers may not be able to see you.

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