IMPERIAL I-Pledge: The importance of being visible on the roads

11 May 2017 | Road Safety Highlights

IMPERIAL I-Pledge: The importance of being visible on the roads

Studies from UNISA show that pedestrian injury - at 44% - is the leading cause of death on South Africa’s roads. Annually, 14 000 people are killed on our countries roads and a further 150 000 are severely injured, many of which are pedestrians. While human error is one of the major reasons these accidents occur, many such cases can be avoided, through correcting errors in perception. Being seen is an essential basic for the safety of all road users - which influences the risk of road crashes in this regard.

Niki Cronje, Group Marketing at IMPERIAL I-Pledge, says: “In South Africa, millions are dependent on walking or cycling their routes to and from work or school, which increases their exposure to risk. It is with this in mind, that we feel it is pertinent to educate road users on the importance of being seen on the roads and how to make themselves more visible to oncoming vehicles. 

Be safe and be Seen

Be seen when you use the roads, which can be achieved by wearing bright, reflective and high-visibility clothing, wearing a headlamp and using front and rear bike lights when riding a bicycle. Avoid wearing dark colours. Even if one just wears a white jacket, a reflective sticker on a hat or shoes, they are already making themselves more visible to other road users. However, these commuters need to keep in mind that while a little bright clothing is of course better than nothing, reflective strips/clothing that cover a good proportion of the body will always be better.

Always be alert

Distracted walking is becoming an escalating risk, especially amongst the youth, as they are continuously involved in social media. When texting, you are not as in control with the action of walking and you can't see the path in front of you. Texting makes you a hazard to not only yourself, but to others, as distraction makes it more likely that you may walk into someone else and knock them over, or walk into a busy intersection and realise your error too late. 

Pedestrians must remain alert and make themselves as visible as possible when using the roads, which can save them from injury or death and the driver from emotional trauma, as well as potential criminal charges.

Avoid dangerous behaviours

“We have touched on this previously, however as a pedestrian, you are at a major disadvantage when crossing streets, intersections and standing on corners. You are not always visible to drivers, where you simply don't stand a chance if a vehicle hits you – especially if it is a larger vehicle. To stay as safe as possible, pedestrians shouldn’t engage in alcohol-impaired walking, distracted walking, or disregard road signs and signals.

“Don't assume vehicles will stop, make eye contact with drivers, don't just look at their vehicle. If a driver is on a cell phone, he or she may not be paying enough attention to drive safely. Remember to look right, left and right again before crossing a street and to watch out for turning vehicles.”

Cronje concludes: “While wearing high visibility clothing and obeying the rules of the road is vital, pedestrians should still remain cautious of their surroundings, and never assume a driver has seen them – where in fact they should rather assume that they haven’t been seen at all, to guarantee their safety at all times.”

Also view:

Pedestrian Safety in South Africa

Visibility and Road Safety

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