Promoting walking and walkable communities: Part three

Safe driving tips when sharing the road with walkers from "Step It Up!".

Photo credit: NHTSA Image Collection.

Photo credit: NHTSA Image Collection.

US Surgeon General’s Step It Up!  2015 call to action urges individuals to use walking as a form of exercise. Walkers who follow simple rules (see part 2 two) of the road are more likely to stay safe. However, those of us who drive cars to and from our destination often find ourselves sharing the road with walkers who do not always follow the rules. When you are driving, Michigan State University Extension recommends to keep these tips from the Michigan Secretary of State in mind:

  • Always yield the right-of-way to walkers, wheelchair rollers, joggers, bikers, etc.
  • Use caution when pulling out of driveways and parking areas, watching both the sidewalk and the road.
  • Come to a complete stop before turning into driveways and at intersections and look for pedestrians or bicyclists who have the right of way.
  • When passing a cyclist, do not immediately turn right. Wait until the cyclist has passed through the intersection.
  • Never pass cars stopped at crosswalks as a pedestrian may be crossing the street.
  • Always yield to anyone crossing the street when turning left on a green light.
  • Watch for changes in direction by walkers or cyclists, especially children, who are trying to avoid obstacles.
  • Check for cyclists before opening your car door when you are parallel parked.
  • Leave extra space between you and the walker or cyclist and pass with caution.
  • Do not text and drive. If you need to talk on the phone while driving, use a hands-free phone or your car’s speakerphone capability.

The Step It Up! call to action offers many resources for individuals, communities and governments to promote walking and walkable communities. A walkable community designs roads and pathways that keep pedestrians safe and visible to drivers.

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