I’ve always said that the vehicle with the most lug nuts wins. The problem is that drivers seem to see it this way when it comes to pedestrians. The question is, who has the right of way, when the pedestrian is using a designated crosswalk? My answer is that the pedestrian should always be given the right of way, but the law states that the pedestrian has it, when they are using a crosswalk. I know that there are circumstances where pedestrians are struck on the highway, and the driver does not get ticketed. Pedestrians hold some responsibility, but I believe that drivers hold a greater responsibility.
We have observed numerous situations where pedestrians are either in a crosswalk or standing on the edge of one, and cars refuse to yield the right of way. Let’s forget the fact that the law is designed to protect the pedestrian, and think about the fact that you could hurt or kill someone with your vehicle. Have we really become that indifferent about human life, or that we think that we deserve special privileges?
Most of you know that my wife manages the crosswalk in front of Curtis Elementary. There are many things that designate the school crossing, but she still chases her traffic cones up and down West Hundred Rd. You can literally drive a tractor-trailer through her cones, but cars hit them regularly. The last Wednesday of the month has become a new challenge for my wife. Early out days are days in which the flashing lights are not in sync with school closing. My wife has deemed these situations as crazy and chaotic. I did notice that the eastbound crossing lights were still on at 8:45 PM, last night. Lights that flash at the wrong times cause drivers to become numb to the crossing.
To those who walk, be on guard. Pedestrians are supposed to walk on the oncoming side of traffic, so that they can see traffic coming toward them. This does not mean that you can walk in the lane of travel. Use crosswalks as designated. If you must cross a major highway that has no crosswalk, then you must cross at a place where drivers, in both directions, can see you best. I cannot tell you how many people have been struck and killed from Forest Lake Rd to Leighworth Boulevard on Jefferson Davis Highway. Wear visible clothing at night. Never assume that a driver sees you.
The bottom line is that drivers need to be more mindful of their surroundings. The biggest issues are people on cell phones, people texting and driving above the speed limit. I do hope that our state legislators pass a law against texting while driving, though common sense should prevail. Most people are unable to concentrate on a phone conversation and their driving at the same time. While talking about distractions, if your visibility is limited, slow down!
I had a battalion chief who told us not to drive fire apparatus in the lane right up against the front of a shopping center or grocery store, unless absolutely necessary. The reason was to avoid the pedestrian traffic. If you are in that big of a hurry, then I recommend that you bypass Chester. If you must drive through our town, do so safely.