THE AAP CORNER

Pedestrian safety is the responsibility of both driver and pedestrian

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High-end new cars marketed these days not only have the latest connectivity and infotainment technology, but also design improvements that could reduce pedestrian deaths and injuries in collisions.

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Crushable hoods and fenders can cushion heads and padding in bumper systems can minimize leg injuries. Plastic hood mounts and headlights that break away on impact lessen chances that pedestrians will be seriously injured.

Pedestrian detection systems that alert a driver to a person in the vehicle’s path and, in some cases, brake automatically are safety options in many new cars.

But these safety features do not preempt the responsibility of both the driver and the pedestrian to conduct themselves in a safe manner on the road. Moreover, older cars and new budget-priced vehicles do not have pedestrian-protective safety equipment.

Consequently, it is up to the driver and the pedestrian to look out for their own safety.

For their own safety, pedestrians should never jaywalk but use designated pedestrian lanes or crossing points instead and obey traffic signs and signals.

They should stop, look left, right and left again, and make sure that all vehicles have stopped moving or that the road is clear, before stepping off the curb onto the roadway.

Pedestrians should be careful and pay attention to traffic as drivers may be turning right or turning left or sometimes disobey traffic signals or not be able to stop because of poor weather conditions.

Pedestrians walking at night in poor weather are advised to wear bright, reflective clothing.

Drivers, for their part, should always yield to pedestrians and be alert for pedestrians, especially at intersections.

Be aware of jaywalkers and pedestrians who appear indecisive or inattentive.

Be alert of vehicles stopped in the lane next to yours as they may be waiting for a pedestrian to cross.

Watch out for pedestrians when backing up your vehicle.

On the major roads of Metro Manila like Edsa and Ayala Avenue, overpass pedestrian bridges and underpasses have been built for the safety and convenience of pedestrians.

However, in some areas of Edsa, these overpasses are dirty, littered with garbage, crowded with street vendors and frequented by bag snatchers, pickpockets and other petty criminals, causing pedestrians to avoid them and jaywalk on street level instead.

The departments of Transportation and Communications, and Public Works and Highways, and local government and city officials are tasked with making roads safe not only for motorists, but also for pedestrians and commuters.

Whether the DOTC has performed its tasks is a big issue, so road users in general are hoping for relief when the elections take place this year and change the people in charge.

Among the pedestrians, special attention should be given to senior citizens, PWDs (persons with disabilities) and children because they are the most vulnerable road users. If they are injured, they are not able to recover as quickly or as completely from their injuries.

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