Are you in a routine?
Are you paying enough attention to your driving to notice the unusual situations arising? The normal routines we do every day of our lives change every second once we add weather, pedestrians and other road users. Are your ready for these changes?
We’ve had a number of pedestrians struck locally as of late and the results have been fatalities for most of them. There has been almost one pedestrian fatality a day over the past couple of weeks and this leads me to think that we, as drivers, need to pay closer attention to what we’re doing. We can’t fall into a routine because we’re so used to driving the same roads every day.
Have you ever had to change your normal driving route on one certain day because of a meeting, but found yourself making the same turns you would normally make because of routine? Did you get upset with yourself? What makes drivers fall into such a routine that they stop thinking like a responsible driver?
Years ago, while I was retraining a licensed driver, we were approaching a stop sign and needed to do a routine stop. This was a new location for this specific stop sign as the city was trying to slow down the traffic by having the drivers stop a few more times. The driver I had in my vehicle wasn’t slowing down at all, even though I had asked him to brake. I eventually had to apply my dual brake to stop him. He became very defensive and agitated that I had stopped him. He was adamant that the stop sign wasn’t there a few days ago when he was on that same road and used that as his excuse as to why he didn’t stop. Why didn’t he notice the sign now though? Was he even paying attention to it?
It was very difficult for me to get through to him that things will change every second while driving; especially traffic. He kept giving me the excuse that the sign wasn’t there before. What does that have to do with not seeing it now and responding to it? As drivers don’t we need to constantly be aware of all of the changing traffic so we can stay ahead of it all; including when pedestrians walk when they shouldn’t?
Not all pedestrians are innocent either. Some will walk against the light and expect drivers will stop. Life doesn’t always work out that way. Each person has to think and act safely. Pedestrians have to ensure its safe to cross. Even if the pedestrian crossing light says they are allowed to cross, it doesn’t mean it’s safe to cross. Even though the light turns green for drivers, it doesn’t always mean its safe to proceed.
Look for the changes in location traffic control devices so they won’t surprise you and look for pedestrians crossing where and when they shouldn’t so you can respond to them early. We need to constantly pay attention so we can all stay alive on our roads.