Highway safety is based upon sharing the road with others. This post discusses some highway safety tips on how to share road with other users like pedestrians, the cyclists and emergency vehicles.
There are different types of vehicles on our roads. Usually, cars drivers and trucks drivers share the road with others. You need to learn how to handle them differently and how interact with many other road users also.
The main purpose of traffic laws and rules of the road is to enable different categories of road users; motor vehicle drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians the ability to share the roadways equally and fairly at all times.
Safety on the road is everyone’s responsibility. And it’s important to understand that certain drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians all have rights.
Below are some of the highway rules and special driving maneuvers that you need to know while driving on major roadways. This knowledge will help you reduce road crashes to the minimum.
How to Share Road with Other Users
The Right-Of-Way Rules
The right-of-way means the right of one vehicle or pedestrian to proceed in a lawful manner on a highway in preference to another vehicle or pedestrian. The right of way law has been covered extensively in the Lane Control Signals and Pavement Markings.
If you have the right-of-way and others yield it to you, proceed immediately.
- You must, of course, obey stop signs; yield signs and traffic signals at intersections.
- If you enter the intersection after another vehicle, you must yield the right-of-way.
- If you are about to turn left at an intersection or in to any alleys, private roads or driveways; you must yield the right-of-way to other pedestrians and vehicles until it is safe to turn.
- If you are entering a public street or highway from a private road or driveway, you must stop and yield to all approaching vehicles and pedestrians.
- If a traffic light turns green for you, you must still yield to pedestrians and vehicles in the intersection.
- Also, be on the lookout for red light runners.
How to Share Road with Emergency Vehicles
Emergency Vehicles Right-Of-Way
Authorized emergency vehicles, such as police cars, ambulances and fire engines, have the right-of-way when they are giving a signal, either audible (siren) or visual (flashing light).
When you hear or see such a vehicle approaching, you should immediately drive to the curb and stop, until the emergency vehicle has passed.
How to Share Road with Motorcycle Riders
In Nigeria, the bicycle or motorcycle is legally defined as a vehicle and has all of the privileges, rights and responsibilities to utilize the roadway as a motor vehicle operator does (except for expressways).
Respect the right-of-way of cyclists because they are entitled to share the road with other drivers. Almost half of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve cars in collisions with motorcycles. Drivers often say that they never saw the motorcycle.
Drivers of cars must always be alert for cyclists, as their size makes them very difficult to see. Always remain alert and check your blind spot frequently to make sure that a motorcycle is not passing you.
Nigeria is characterized with self-trained motorcycle riders. You need to be especially alert for motorcycles when turning at intersections and when pulling out from a side road or driveway.
Because the motorcycle is very maneuverable, the operator may move from side to side within the lane to avoid obstacles.
Allow ample room for the motorcycle when passing and remember it is against the law to overtake or pass a motorcycle within the same lane.
Be especially careful when following a motorcycle. Maintain a safe following distance at all times, as the motorcycle can stop more quickly than cars.
Never attempt to share the lane with motorcycles by trying to push them by the side. The motorcyclist needs the room to maneuver safely and is entitled to the entire lane.
Never pass a motorcyclist with only a few feet of space. The force of the buffeted wind can cause the rider to lose control. Motorcyclists may also choose to ride near one side of a lane to maximize the view ahead.
When your vehicle is being passed by a motorcycle, maintain your lane position and speed. Allow the motorcycle to complete the maneuver and assume proper lane position.
In traffic, especially in inclement weather or under certain road conditions, motorcycles operate differently than other vehicles.
Wind gusts or wet roads impair a motorcyclist’s ability to brake and maneuver. Always be on the lookout for rough motorcycle riders and red light runners.
How to Share Road with Pedestrians
A pedestrian is any person afoot.
Different categories of pedestrians include the school children, the teenagers, the working class parents, the elderly, street traders and the physically challenged persons.
Be on the lookout for pedestrian crossing. Pedestrians have the right-of-way within the crosswalks at the roundabout.
However, pedestrians may not suddenly leave a curb or other safe waiting place and walk in to the path of a vehicle if it is so close that it may not be able to stop.
Zebra Crossing or Crosswalks
Crosswalks define the area where pedestrians are to cross the roadway. Usually, the solid lines across a driveway mark off pedestrian crosswalks.
You must yield to pedestrians in or about to enter a crosswalk. Please note that not all crosswalks are marked. Be alert for pedestrians when crossing intersections that do not have defined crosswalks.
Drive slowly and cautiously through school zones, residential areas and any other location where children may be walking or playing.
Obey Pedestrian Signals
At some particularly busy intersections or highways, pedestrian signals may be used in combination with normal traffic signals.
Drivers must obey the normal traffic signals, while pedestrians must obey the WALK and DON’T WALK signals. Pedestrian signals show words or pictures similar to the following examples:
“WALK” or “Walking Person” – this light means a pedestrian may begin crossing the street.
“DON’T WALK” or “Raised Hand” – this light means a pedestrian may not begin crossing.
A pedestrian in the crosswalk when the “DON’T WALK” or “Raised Hand” signal begins flashing should finish crossing the street before vehicles can start moving.
The countdown time period is based on walking speed and crossing distance. The countdown period starts at the beginning of the DON’T START or flashing hand phase and ends with a zero and a DON’T WALK or solid red hand.
Please take a closer look of this kind of traffic lights when next you come across them.
Benefits of the Countdown Pedestrian Signals
- Countdown pedestrian signals indicate the time remaining for the crossing.
- They are easily understood by all age groups.
- They increase the feeling of safety.
- Reduce the number of pedestrians stranded in the crosswalk when the light changes
- They are well suited for wide crossings and areas with large numbers of senior citizens.
14 Safety Rules for Motorist Regarding Pedestrians
- It is the motorist’s responsibility to do everything possible to avoid colliding with pedestrians.
- Bicyclists, skaters and skate-boarders in a crosswalk or driveway are considered pedestrians.
- Turning motorists must stop for pedestrians at intersections and driveways.
- Motorists must stop or yield as appropriate for pedestrians crossing the street or driveway at any crossing, driveway or intersection without traffic signals.
- Drivers must not block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light. Do not stop with any portion of your vehicle overhanging the crosswalk area.
- Blocking a crosswalk forces pedestrians to go around your vehicle, and puts them in a dangerous situation.
- You must stop and remain stopped for pedestrians on the sidewalk, when entering or leaving an alley, driveway, or private road.
- Do not make a turn that causes a pedestrian to stop, slow down or make some other special effort to avoid a collision.
- If children are in the vicinity, take special care, because children are not fully aware of the dangers of traffic.
- Be respectful of others who have difficulty in crossing streets, such as elderly persons or persons with a visual or physical disability.
- When a vehicle is stopped at a cross-walk to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not over-take and pass such stopped vehicle.
- Take caution when one driver stops to let a pedestrians cross. The stopped vehicles may screen the pedestrian from the view of an approaching driver, and also screen the approaching vehicle from the pedestrian’s view.
- The law therefore requires a driver approaching a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk from the rear to assume that a pedestrian may be crossing, even when none can be seen at the moment.
- A violation of these rules can cause serious injury because the overtaking driver is traveling at speed.
Driving At School Crossing Zones
The school area signs advise drivers of school zones and school crossings.
School zones help protect the safety of students when they cross the roadway. Schools crossings help inform drivers that children use that crossing to go to and from school.
Be attentive to school zone, reduce your speed and be read to stop. It is the driver’s responsibility to avoid colliding with pedestrians. Do your part to make every school crossing a safe crossing for children.
Crossing guards indicate to drivers that pedestrians, especially school children, are about to cross or are crossing. Do not enter the crosswalk while a school crossing guard is in the roadway. Respect their directives.
Wrapping up: How to Share Road with Other Users
Now you know how to Share Road with Other Users like the pedestrians, the cyclists and emergency vehicles.
Eye contact between the pedestrian and driver is one of the keys to pedestrian safety. Always look out for traffic lights and pedestrians crossing at intersections.
Remember to give way to bikers, truckers and emergency drivers at roundabouts.
We wish you a safe journey!