Winter weather is just one of the hazards facing pedestrians at this time of year. (Photo credit: ICBC)

Less daylight, bad weather mean drivers and pedestrians need to take care

Whether you’re in a vehicle or on foot, take steps to see and be seen

Although the days are (slowly) getting longer now, road conditions are challenging for everyone, with fewer daylight hours, snow, fog, and rain leading to poor visibility for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Three recent collisions, two of which resulted in pedestrian fatalities, have Surrey RCMP reminding people to be vigilant when they’re out on the road. In just under 48 hours, Surrey RCMP responded to three serious motor vehicle collisions involving pedestrians. Two people died, and a third person was taken to hospital in critical condition and with life-threatening injuries.

Drivers should slow down and drive according to conditions, while pedestrians can help themselves be seen by wearing bright and/or reflective clothing and accessories.

If you’re a pedestrian, you can also help yourself to stay safe by making eye contact with drivers before crossing a street; do not assume that the driver has seen you.

Always use a crosswalk, and if you are on a sidewalk use the inside edge so that you are further away from traffic.

If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic so you can see what’s approaching. Don’t wear headphones or ear buds, so that you can hear oncoming vehicles, and check for signs that a vehicle is about to start moving, such as rear lights coming on or the sound of a motor. If you’re wearing a hood, take it off so that you can see and hear what’s going on around you.

If you’re driving, turn your lights on to increase your vehicle’s visibility, even during daylight hours. Modern vehicles are designed so that the headlights come on when the car is started, but that does not activate taillights.

Obey the speed limit, but be aware that it is for ideal conditions. If it’s dark, or the weather is bad, slow down.

When you approach an intersection, scan left and right for people who might be crossing, and be aware of pedestrians who could be distracted and/or unaware of their surroundings because they’re on the phone, are texting, or have a hood that obscures their vision.

“We all have a role to play in making our streets safer for all road users,” says Corporal Elenore Sturko, Surrey RCMP Media Relations Officer. “With darker days and inclement weather, combined with the busy holiday season, we encourage you to give yourself extra time to get where you need to be and stay alert.”

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