Without question, other drivers on the open road are probably likely to be your number one problem. And yes, let’s not even talk about the lycra louts. Don’t you know the laws apparently don’t apply to those saintly beings on two wheels? However, there is another breed of annoyance on the road. The accursed pedestrian. They come in many flavours and sizes – all of them with their own particular brand of trouble. So to help identify them – we’ve produced this handy article…
1. Here comes the hot stepper
This increasingly common individual is clearly used to getting a lot of attention in their life. Clearly however, they’re above it all, because they’ve got that special something that people just can’t leave alone. I mean, what other reason could they possibly have for stepping out into the road without looking?
Fortunately, most car drivers are doing the hard work for them. I mean, after all, who wants a squished pedestrian on their record or conscience? If you can spot yourself in this picture, we’d recommend you do the world a favour, and withdraw your head from the dark recess you’ve stuffed it into – and start paying attention to the roads like your life depends on it. Because guess what? It does.
2. Finding the gaps
Some people want everything right now in life. Why shouldn’t they have exactly what they want? If that means that the motoring world has to cope with them nipping out between two parked cars then what’s the problem? Don’t most drivers have the hair-trigger reactions of a young James Hunt, allowing them to swerve and deal with the situation?
Driving is all about expectation. Clever individuals throughout history have set up road systems to be as safe as possible by allowing drivers to have sufficient foresight of any difficulties ahead of them. If you’re going to rob drivers of these advantages then expect them to pay you back with a trip to hospital.
3. Blame it on the boogie
Streaming services and bigger storage capacities on your personal music devices means that as a pedestrian, you can be plugged into your sound, every step of your journey. Feeling fresh? Why not press those shoes into the pavement and pull some moves? Question is however, are you so fly that you can literally moonwalk through traffic, when you’re not looking where you’re going?
Sound is an important part of navigating traffic. Turn down the headphones, or take one out, so you can hear the natural rhythms of life and the world. Like the incessant grumbling thump of that articulated lorry bearing down on you at 40 mph…
4. The fastest feet
Some people are naturally born with a fleet foot and a fast reaction. When they’re not at home playing PlayStation games, they like to play Frogger with the traffic. Weaving in between cars waiting at lights, and running in front of fast moving vehicles as they trust their nerves. All it takes is one slip up, and it could be their last.
Let’s put the shoe on the other foot for a second. You never see highly skilled drivers swerving at zebra crossings to miss pedestrians whilst still maintaining speed because they know what they’re doing. So isn’t it best to respect car drivers in the same way they respect you?
5. She’s on the phone
Modern life is about the connections we make. Being available on the phone is a real luxury compared to 30 years ago. You can be on your phone anywhere, any time – not only talking either, but with your head buried in Instagram as you walk down the street. Not properly looking where you’re going. And suddenly lapsing into traffic as you post that inspired reply to someone’s cheeky comment…
Being on your phone behind the wheel reduces reaction times to a far greater extent than marijuana or alcohol. You wouldn’t expect someone to sit behind the wheel of their car on the phone. So how about you don’t walk down the road, next to streams of traffic, doing the same thing…?
6. Walk this way
Ah the glorious countryside. The smell of freshly ploughed fields. Birdsong. You have to stand there sometimes and take in the freedom of it all. Especially the way there’s no set pathways on the little lanes and b roads you’ll find all over the more untamed parts of the country. But beware. You’re not so free that you can walk on the wrong side of the road. Stay on the right, so that oncoming traffic can clearly see you.
Most birds, apart from the odd roadkill, have the wherewithal to stay away from vehicles. They seem to understand the dangers of the country roads. With our massive IQs and clear evolutionary superiority, shouldn’t we be able to take to walking on the right side of the road like for instance… a duck to water?
7. Like a moonlight shadow
Can anyone see in the dark? No. Then why would being behind a vehicle travelling down a badly lit country road at 30mph be vested with some crazy super powers where they could see you? In a way you almost have to admire the bravery of these souls, who feel no fear walking within mere inches of moving cars, late at night.
It’s simple. No one decides to go walking down a country road late at night on a whim. So if you can plan to take the trip, you can plan to purchase some reflective clothing, a torch, or whatever else you might need to gently circumvent a serious accident.
8. I get knocked down…
People love getting off their heads on the booze. It’s a time honoured UK tradition. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean they’re great at getting on the pavement, as they meander and fall into the road, presenting a real danger to themselves and other road users.
You shouldn’t drink and drive. So maybe the law needs to have a little refresher regarding getting wasted and walking. Get a taxi, get your partner to pick you up, or sleep it off on a park bench. Anything to avoid colliding with the road.
9. Keep on movin’
You’re crossing the road. We know it’s your moment and you have the right of way – but people have places to be. And walking in the middle of the road, even when you’re protected by the law, is still dangerous as the only laws that really apply to moving vehicles in a dangerous situation are Newton’s laws of motion.
The road is a treacherous place. If you’re going to cross it, then make sure you do it with pace and your full attention.
10. Don’t put on the red light
Cars absolutely have to behave under traffic law. Red lights mean stop. The UK is not one of those crazy countries where you can be sent to court for disobeying the old red man at a crossing – and most of us would like to keep it that way. If you’re going to hit the button, then at least wait for the lights to turn in your favour, rather than chancing it dancing through the traffic.
Yes the roads are a stressful place. But most of the problems out there could be resolved if everyone follows the rules. Yes it can be considered a little boring and conventional, but when we all, including pedestrians, do what we’re supposed to, it creates a predictable environment that’s key to safety.
11. Test of time
Yes, putting your nose out into traffic is a little on the aggressive side when you’re in a car. It’s a military style move that’s now found its way around the rest of the UK – and into the on street behaviour of some mums. Yes, we get that your pushchair can be weaponised as a battering ram to move difficult feet out of your way at the mall, but this doesn’t mean you should be carrying on the same behaviour when you want to cross the road.
Think about what you’re doing if you ever find yourself indulging your thirst for speed with this kind of action. Really we shouldn’t have to tell you not to act this way in a light hearted article like this.
The final note
If you’re walking along the pavement, please think about how you behave behind the wheel. Drivers have blind spots and it’s really hard to stop a car once it’s in motion without slamming on the brakes. If you’re a driver, then use your knowledge of what it’s like behind the wheel of a car to dictate your behaviour as a pedestrian. Yes, you do have right of way – but remember that cars can’t react with anywhere near the speed and sudden movement as you can on foot.