Pedestrians, drivers need to co-exist

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Debra A. North
  • 341st Space Wing Safety Office
We are enjoying nicer weather now which means there will be more people walking around and more children out and about so it is imperative everyone is thinking not only safety, but common courtesy. Give yourself enough time to get where you want to go without having to hurry. Plan ahead, and be prepared. 

Driving, whether on the highway or in town, is an intricate task, and one which deserves and requires our complete attention. You have to keep your eye on the other drivers and everything else that is going on along your path -- kids playing, people walking, dogs darting out, etc. 

Did you know a pedestrian is killed or injured every seven minutes? When you are driving, how well do you pay attention to crosswalks? We need to keep in mind vehicles are required to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk in their half of  the road. On base, it's customary to yield the entire time the pedestrian is walking across the street. This helps provide an indicator to other vehicles that something is different than normal, i.e. there is someone in the crosswalk. 

There are some rules of the road for pedestrians. If a pedestrian is crossing the roadway at any point other than within a marked or unmarked crosswalk, they must yield the right-of-way to the vehicles on the roadway. Except within a marked crosswalk, pedestrians must cross the roadway at a right angle or by the shortest route. 

We need to remember the maximum speed limit in base housing is 15 mph (only 10 mph along Lincoln Drive), except where posted. You have to keep situational awareness of anyone walking, running, rollerblading or playing in case they suddenly step out onto the street in front of you. 

Here are "10 Steps to Arrive Alive" adapted from The Dow Chemical Company: Motor Vehicle Accident Case Study which can be found at: 

1. Realize your number one priority right now is to drive your vehicle safely and without incident to your destination.
2. Check behind the vehicle for obstacles to ensure it is safe to back the vehicle if needed.
3. Ensure you are mentally and physically alert and are capable of making the trip.
4. Securely fasten your seatbelt and adjust it for proper fit. Ensure that everyone in your vehicle has theirs on as well.
5. Be aware of the weather and realize it can change during the trip. Adjust your driving technique to allow for darkness, fog, rain, ice, etc.
6. Be alert for traffic and road hazards and adjust your driving to safely allow for them.
7. Obey all posted highway traffic signs.
8. Have a good attitude toward driving. Be courteous and allow for other drivers' mistakes.
9. Devote your undivided attention to safely operating your vehicle and do not allow distractions to take your mind away from driving.
10. Know the five keys to safe driving: Aim high in steering, get the big picture, make sure they see you, keep your eyes moving and leave yourself an out.
For more information, read AFI 31-204 341 SW Supplement 1.