Thursday, January 27, 2011
Rules of the road--for pedestrians
Sure you know stop, look and listen. But these days you have to be extra careful because even cars don't follow rules of the road. In The Great Gatsby, one of the minor characters (Jordan) says she hates people who drive carelessly, but is not a careful driver herself. (Actually if you take to heart the "lessons" from Fitzgerald's novel, you'll probably go about believing the world is full of bad drivers, which may actually be a life-saving assumption, but it isn't very charitable, is it?)
So, here are some of the extra things that methinks should be added to Pedestrian Road Safety 101:
1. Wait a second or two after the light changes before crossing the street (this, of course, after stop look and listen). I was crossing the street a few weeks back when a taxi ran the red light. If I wasn't alert enough, or if I crossed the street too quickly, it could've made roadkill of me! And this was in Batangas Street, not a highway.
2. Earphones and the streets do not jibe. You need to hear everything. (For the record, I don't commute with earphones, but I see a lot of "plugged" people get honked at. And once I saw a runner wired to his iPod sprint across the street without even looking if there's a car coming!) I know earphones are probably there to help you beat the boredom, but they're so good at making you forget where you are.
3. Wear white or bright colors. At sea, people need to wear brights so if they accidentally fall overboard, they will be easier to spot and rescue. On the road, people in white or bright colors are easier to see as they cross the street.
4. Look at signal lights of cars. They're there to let other motorists know if and where they're turning; it's good for you, as a pedestrian, to make sure you can already cross safely. Some traffic lights don't apply to cars turning left or right at intersections.
5. If there is an overpass or underpass, take it, no matter how "out of the way" it is. That's why they are there. And the same rule applies when it comes to pedestrian lanes. The point is, you have to cross where motorists expect you to cross. You have to be predictable!
Lastly, as in the photo above, remember that only the Beatles could cross the street without having to keep these pedestrian road safety rules in mind. If you aren't one of them, better to simply stay alert!