Walk ride drive: Safety tips for interacting with other road users
The roads are home to a wide variety of people and vehicles – pedestrians, cyclists, cars, trucks, motorcycles – the list goes on. With so many users vying for space on the roads, it is no wonder that some drivers get confused and overwhelmed by rules and etiquette when dealing with other road users.
To avoid this uncertainty leading to road rage or accidents, it is important to be aware of how to share the road with pedestrians and other motorists. We have some tips for drivers to help ensure harmony among all road users.
While some drivers think that roads are just for vehicles, pedestrians have a right to share the road.
Drivers are required by law to give way to pedestrians at designated crossings and when turning at intersections.
Drivers should always be aware of pedestrians and be prepared to stop for them at any time. Special consideration should be taken around busy areas like schools or shopping centres, and when in areas where children could be playing in the street.
Drivers are required to give way to cyclists, so it is important to:
Look for cyclists at intersections, and give way to any cyclists that are coming towards you.
Watch out for cyclists in residential areas, particularly young children riding on footpaths as they may not stop before riding onto the road.
Look for cyclists when opening a car door on the road side. Not looking here can have disastrous results.
Give cyclists least a one metre clearance when overtaking – if you are travelling faster than 50km/hour you will need to give them a wider berth for their safety
When sharing the road with motorcycles and scooters, it is important to remember that they are smaller than cars and not as well protected, therefore extra precautions need to be taken.
Motorcycles and scooters are harder to see than cars, so always be vigilant – check your mirrors and blind spots before merging or changing lanes.
Give motorcycles and scooters as much space as a car when overtaking them.
Keep a lookout in slow moving traffic as motorcycles and scooters can manoeuvre faster than cars.
Extra vigilance is required when sharing the road with oversize vehicles such as trucks or buses, as collisions with these vehicles often have catastrophic consequences. When driving around trucks and buses, drivers should:
Allow more room for large vehicles to stop – as they are heavier they require a greater stopping distance.
Be sure not overtake long or oversize vehicles when they are turning.
Be aware when travelling next to a truck or bus that the driver may not be able to see you due to blind spots.
Emergency Services vehicles
One rule that causes a lot of confusion among road users is what to do when you see an emergency vehicle approaching. In Australia it is an offence not to give way to an emergency vehicle, so if you spot an emergency vehicle approaching remain calm and:
Check which direction the emergency vehicle is coming from and give way to it.
Move as far left as is safe to do so on the road.
If you cannot move left, slow down or stop to let the emergency vehicle drive around you.
Even though we have given you some quick tips for dealing with other road users, it is critical to be aware of all the road rules – these can usually be found by visiting your state’s motor authority website. As well as knowing the road rules when dealing with pedestrians and other vehicles, simply being courteous to other road users will help to make the road a safer and happier place for everyone.
Do road rules for how to interact with different road users confuse you?
What could be done to make the road safer for all users?
Please leave your thoughts below.
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