All of us using the roads can help reduce the strain on the emergency services during the pandemic by taking extra care when making our essential journeys so that NHS staff and emergency services can concentrate all their efforts to help people fighting coronavirus. Now more than ever, it’s crucial that we take care when sharing the road.
We can see the current measures for essential journeys only are reducing the number of vehicles on the road, however, at times there may be more people walking.
If you are a key worker walking to work, walking to do your food shopping, for medical needs or as part of your daily exercise, practice social distancing and continue to stay alert for essential vehicles using the road, even though there may be less traffic.
Pedestrians are vulnerable road users and in the event of a road traffic collision they are more likely to sustain injuries requiring medical attention.
With that in mind, everyone must do all they can to reduce the number of road casualties during these unprecedented times. People walking must take extra care and drivers must look out for pedestrians.
Pedestrians – pay attention to your surroundings and be alert to the traffic around you, expect the unexpected. Don’t be distracted by your mobile phone or headphones.
Always check the road is clear before stepping off the pavement to cross to the other side or to social distance from other people using the footpath. Hold younger children’s hands – don’t let them run ahead and make sure your child walks on the side of the pavement away from the traffic.
You can take a number of steps to make yourself safer as a pedestrian:
- stop, look and listen
- don’t try to cross the road between parked cars
- if possible, cross at a pedestrian crossing or traffic lights
- never cross at a bend
- if there is a footpath, use it
- if there is no footpath, walk/run/jog on the right hand side of the road, facing oncoming traffic and keep as close as possible to the side of the road
- wear fluorescent clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night
Drivers – although there may be less traffic on the roads, continue to be aware of those more vulnerable, such as people walking, cycling and motorcycling.
In built up areas there may be more people walking than usual, including families with young children and older people. Give them time to cross the road and look out for people stepping off the pavement suddenly onto the road for social distancing from other pedestrians. When passing those on bicycles give them as much room as you would when passing a car – a minimum of 1.5 metres.
Remember – the speed limit is the maximum speed you are allowed to travel on that road, but consider travelling at a reduced speed. Reducing your speed will give you more time to react safely to the unexpected and help you avoid a collision.
Our key message is, as always, reduce your speed, wear a seatbelt, pay attention, ignore the phone and never ever drive having taken alcohol or drugs.
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