For the past couple years, I have been walking to my workplace several miles down the road from my house. It is not a long walk, and without access to a car, it simply makes more sense to me to use my own two legs to get there. However, I have noticed that some of the drivers do not seem to know the proper etiquette for sharing their roadways with pedestrians. I have had garbage thrown in my direction, I have been catcalled, and I have nearly been hit by drivers texting, including a former manager of mine as we were both on our way to work.
I compiled five helpful tips to keeping the roads safe for everyone!
1. Do use your turning signals.
Now, this one should be followed regardless of the presence of pedestrians, but just as the other drivers need to know where you intend on going, the pedestrians do as well. We rely on turn signals to know when it is safe to cross in front of an entrance to a parking lot, drive way, etc. Without them, we might be half way across the entrance to an Autozone when a sporty red car whips in and nearly hits us (or is that just me?). Which brings me to my next tip...
2. Do keep a consistent speed.
While we see the temptation in speeding up to avoid waiting while we finish crossing, pedestrians can gauge how fast we need to move to cross before you reach the entrance. If our Autozone friend from above had not decided to speed up, I still would not have been in his path when he turned in, even without knowing for certain that was his intention. While approaching a crosswalk, we pause to see how fast traffic is moving and move along accordingly if we decide it is safe. You will not need to wait for us in most cases. But if you do have to wait while a pedestrian finishes crossing...
3. Do not rev your engine at a pedestrian.
This will not make the pedestrian move faster. This will likely frustrate us if it has any effect at all. This advice should be more strictly adhered when it is raining or cold outside. You're in a metal box protected from the elements and other vehicles; we are outside. I promise we are not trying to take our leisurely time to remain on the road.
4. Do not honk your horn at a pedestrian.
I do not care if you are my best friend trying to get my attention to wave or if you are the kind of human that thinks honking at someone is a compliment. Just don't. If we hear a horn, we will assume that we are about to be hit by a car. The purpose of your horn is to create a warning for danger, nothing else. Also, if you honk at a pedestrian for your amusement and proceed to laugh when they jump further from the road, you are the worst kind of person.
5. Do not yell anything a pedestrian.
Unless there is some imminent danger that you need to warn someone about, just don't. We promise that we are walking as quickly and safely as possible without you yelling to hurry up or go ahead. This tip also applies to catcalling. Catcalling has never been flattering, nor will it ever be. We have never thought, "Damn, I better write down his/her license plate number to track that driver down after they yelled that I had a nice ass. I'd like to thank them properly."
Following these pieces of advice can make the roads safer for everyone. We all share one common goal: to get where we're going. With a little respect, we can accomplish that goal with the least amount of frustration possible.