Smaller, Nippier and No Lights
Coping with pedestrians in traffic can be big, big trouble because they are the most vulnerable of all road users. Motorists must
take this fact into consideration each time they are out on the road. Because
pedestrians do not have headlights, it is generally more difficult for them to
see and be seen; especially at night and in poor weather conditions.
They are slower in acceleration but can stop faster and in shorter distances than any powered vehicle. Quicker on the turn and weighing a lot less than the smallest vehicle, they are more susceptible to serious injuries and permanent damage than all other road users combined in the event of a collision.
Easily Lost in Blind Spots
Being relatively small in size, the pedestrian is easily lost in the driver’s pockets of vision, otherwise known as blind spots. Objects hidden in blindspots are always exposed to real danger while drivers are turning left or right, and while reversing. Checking driving mirrors frequently to get the picture behind, to the side, and glancing over the shoulder before executing a turn or lane change helps to minmise the risk.
Old or Young, There's Danger
A pedestrian’s reflexes, hearing accuracy, visual acuity, and depth perception, object and colour recognition are often dulled by age and sometimes, due to circumstances, by state of mind. This may affect decision making and speed of response to unfolding emergencies. On the other hand, the young, who, by virtue of their youth are more agile, can react faster than the elderly. This in itself can be a bigger problem to the driver since they (young people) are more likely to dart in and out of traffic thoughtlessly, believing they can outpace even the fastest vehicle. This is a source of danger that should cause the average motorist to be more cautious.
The elderly will give more considered thought to their actions before making a move but still, they lack the necessary speed to finish the job safely in good time. As a motorist, you should recognise this drawback and allow them the time it takes to cross safely.
The Physically Challenged
Disabled (physically challenged)pedestrians in traffic represent different kinds of threats in their own right. Pedestrians in this category include the blind, the lame, the deaf and dumb, and mentally ill. They are often out on their own, unaided and literarily left to their own devices. It is rather impracticable here for reasons of space, to enumerate all the hazards associated with letting the disabled roam free in traffic. But suffice it to say that it can lead to some very unfortunate, harrowing and totally avoidable road traffic accidents, if indeed, they can be called accidents in the true sense of the word.
The disabled are citizens too, and their wellbeing is our collective responsibility, big or small, young or old, rich or poor. We ought to help in any way we can to insulate them from everyday traffic hazards anywhere they may be in the federation. Governmental and other social welfare authorities have an obvious role to play in keeping disabled folks out of harm’s way and from public highways and streets.
Compensate for Their Errors
But while they are out there mingling with traffic, you should seek them out and compensate for their errors of judgement and other mistakes. Give them all the assistance they need to be safe. It is the least you can do for fellow citizens.