Remember that the rules of the road also give pedestrians right of way in all scenarios– Eugene Herbert, managing director of MasterDrive
As gyms around the country remain closed, those who would normally take to the safety of these buildings, can now be seen exercising on the roads throughout the day. Drivers need to take care to safely share the roads with many more runners, walkers or cyclists.
The Managing Director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says the first step is to increase your awareness. “Expect the roads, particularly in suburbs, to be busier, especially during peak times in the mornings and afternoons. Keep in mind that people that do not normally exercise outdoors may not be as road savvy as pedestrians who walk to work every day. Give them extra space, at least two metres, to account for mistakes and reduce your speed when passing for both safety and courtesy reasons.
“Remember that the rules of the road also give pedestrians right of way in all scenarios. Thus, you are obligated to give runners or walkers the right of way whenever it is safe to do so. Be wary of pedestrians who are determined to take their right of way no matter what, and who may not necessarily be aware of the danger this involves, for example if a vehicle is speeding up behind you.”
If someone is running while listening to music, they could also be distracted– EUGENE HERBERT, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF MASTERDRIVE
People should be running against the flow of traffic but do not always do so. “The reason for this is so that they can see if a car or potential danger is coming their way. If you see someone exercising with the flow of traffic, be aware that they cannot see you and if it is busy or they are wearing headphones, cannot hear you. Take extra care around them and avoid hooting at them in case this causes a sudden unexpected reaction.
“If someone is running while listening to music, they could also be distracted. Alternatively, they may even be so focused on their exercise session that they may not be giving the cars around them enough attention. In this scenario it is even more important to pay close attention to them and adjust your driving to give these individuals more room and space in case a mistake occurs.”
Let’s not add to the pressure hospitals could be under due to COVID-19– EUGENE HERBERT, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF MASTERDRIVE
Adjusting your speed is especially important when sharing the road with people exercising. “As mentioned, it gives both yourself and the road user time to react if something goes wrong. It is also important, however, to slow down if you cannot give them a wide berth and wait until you can pass with a gap between yourselves.
“Lastly, speed needs to be adjusted to the conditions, especially at this time of year. You are likely driving into a glare at some point which could completely conceal a runner or walker. If you are driving in these conditions and on a road where you know people often exercise, slow down irrespective of whether you see someone or not.”
Everyone has the right to use the road safely. “Let’s not add to the pressure hospitals could be under due to COVID-19 and make an effort to safely share the road with those using it for exercise,” says Herbert.