October is Pedestrian Safety Month and whether you’re driving or walking, it’s important to understand the safety challenges pedestrians face. Unlike other folks on the road, pedestrians lack protection, move slower, and can be hard for drivers to see—especially truck and bus drivers.
It’s vital that pedestrians understand how large trucks and buses maneuver on our roadways and where a driver’s blind spots may be. Here are a few tips for pedestrians from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):
Stay Out of Blind Spots
Never walk too close to a large truck or bus. These vehicles may have blind spots around all four sides, making it difficult for the driver to see pedestrians. If you can’t see the driver in the vehicle’s mirrors, the driver can’t see you. Always assume the driver doesn’t see you and take extra care – especially if the vehicle is turning or backing up.
Prepare for Wide Turns
If a truck or bus is stopped and waiting to turn right, never walk in front of the vehicle or close to the curb. Larger vehicles make wide turns and often come up onto the curb.
Be Aware of Long Stopping Distances
Larger vehicles take a long time to slow down and stop, particularly if they are carrying a wide load. Never cross in front of or try to cut in too close to a moving truck or bus.
Make Yourself Visible
If it’s dark or bad weather outside, wear bright or reflective clothing. You can also carry a flashlight or wear a headlight while walking at night to make yourself more visible to drivers.
Obey Traffic Laws, Signals, and Signs
Never assume drivers will see you simply because you have the right of way. Always obey all signals and cross only at marked intersections and crosswalks. When it is your turn at a crosswalk, observe vehicles to ensure they are preparing to stop. Many drivers of personal vehicles can be distracted, and you don’t want to fall victim to their distraction.
Whenever possible, stay on sidewalks and marked crosswalks. Obey all traffic and crosswalk signals. Keep away from corners and curbs when a truck or bus is turning, as they may come up onto the curb.
Be Extra Alert in Parking Lots, Gas Stations, and Rest Stops
Stay alert while in areas where vehicles may be backing up or navigating tight spots. Stay out of the way and stick to sidewalks whenever possible.
Watch for Wide Loads
Trucks with wide loads may have limited visibility and impaired maneuverability. They make even wider turns, require more space, and take longer to stop. Keep your distance and stay aware of the truck’s movements.
We all have a duty to keep ourselves and each other safe while using shared roadways. Be aware of your surroundings and give vehicles the space they need.
Learn more safety tips on the FMCSA website.