Driver and pedestrian attention lacking

Pedestrians often wander right out into traffic without making eye contact with drivers or scanning for traffic as they cross

My life is usually mostly rural in character, but I’ve been visiting Surrey this week as both a driver and a pedestrian.

Given the spate of vehicle/pedestrian collisions in the news lately, it has been interesting to consider how they happen in light of my unusual surroundings. I think that a large component of the problem is haste with drivers and lack of attention by pedestrians.

Here, it seems, everyone is in a hurry. Travel is more often than not done at speeds in excess of the limit and stops are either not done at all or done because one is forced to.

Beat the lights, make that turn, get there before the other driver and do what is needed rather than what is proper.

As I stood waiting to cross at an uncontrolled marked crosswalk last night, a woman pulled up to the stop in front of me prior to turning right.

She was already halfway through the crosswalk and focused on finding the gap in traffic to her left. The first time she looked right toward me was after she started moving to get into the gap that presented itself.

Pedestrians often wander right out into traffic without making eye contact with drivers or scanning for traffic as they cross. Add that most of us were in dark clothing and some listening to music instead of their surroundings and it is no wonder that some are struck.

It’s almost like they are taunting the drivers to see and stop as required.

Small wonder that there are problems!

For more information on this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to comments@drivesmartbc.ca. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Friday.

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