STAFF EDITORIAL: Be cautious of drivers, pedestrians

Staff Editorial

Drivers and pedestrians both have their set of rules of the road to follow.

Everybody knows about the situation when a pedestrian is trying to cross the street or is already crossing the street, they have the law on their side and they are to have the ability to cross the street unhindered.

But just because this scenario is clear-cut and understandable on paper does not mean there are not some gray areas to think about when it plays out on the actual roads.

Probably the biggest issue that can complicate this otherwise simple situation is the possible lack of vision for either drivers or pedestrians.

There is a reason the ‘blind spot’ has the adjective ‘blind’ in its name: drivers cannot see every single angle around their cars.

Typically, the phrase refers to the immediate views over the driver’s shoulders, where the mirrors cannot always show what is happening around the car.

But the same goes for mundane situations, such as simply backing into or out of a parking spot, or making a turn on to a different street.

Expanding upon the latter, for instance, there are a lot of aspects of turning a car that people generally do not think about.

The driver has to make sure he can turn first of all.

Maybe another car is turning left from the opposite side of the road, so you have to wait until they are past before you can start turning.

In general, you always have to look any direction just to make sure no car is trying to impede your motion because you can never be too careful about the rare case of a car going the wrong direction in the lane you are trying to get to.

But drivers also have to consider pedestrians in this situation, and likewise: especially at stoplights.

Green means go, yellow means slow down and be ready to stop and red means stop.

Pretty simple, it is something we all learn, even as children.

But the matter is complicated when pedestrians get involved.

The stoplight may be giving you the green light to make the right turn, but, guess what, a lot of times the pedestrians also have their green light to walk into that crosswalk that you are trying to turn through.

So drivers not only have to check their surroundings for cars, but also for pedestrians.

They technically have the right of way in the situation described, so check for someone getting ready to walk.

On the flip side, pedestrians also have their duty to be respectful and aware of the drivers around them.

Pedestrians arguably are able to see more around them, since they do not have bits of their car in the way, so you should also be looking everywhere around you to check for a turning car because they honestly may not see you.

And do not just walk right into the crosswalk without looking.

Even though you have the law on your side, you cannot assume the driver will see you when they turn, so look every direction yourself to avoid the possible incident.

Especially when it is dark out, when it is hard for everyone to see sometimes, or when the roads are covered with snow, like we got this weekend, pedestrians and drivers both need to be responsible.

The Editorial staff can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].