From city buses to cyclists to pedestrians, drivers face more distractions and frustrations than ever before. Getting rid of an "us and them" attitude is step one for sharing the road safely.
"The key to being a safe driver is respect," says Jerry Thomas, road safety coordinator for the City of Ottawa. "But respect must come from everyone using the road. We have to watch out for one another."
That's especially true for drivers because the simple fact of our greater travel speed as well as the size and weight of our vehicles means we, as drivers, can cause severe harm to a cyclist or pedestrian. "That doesn't mean that drivers face all the responsibilities," says Mr. Thomas. "All road users share responsibilities. It does mean, however, that safe drivers always take precautions to ensure they're being responsible."
Practise pedestrian precautions
It's easy to think that pedestrians have their place (on the sidewalk) and you have yours (on the road). But sometimes the two meet. Jerry Thomas advises that drivers should watch for pedestrians when:
Be extra careful when you're in a school zone or anywhere children may be walking; for example, near playgrounds or around school buses.
Since bicycles share the road with drivers, they can present more challenges than pedestrians.
Get on the bus
Public transit buses are part of many city roads. In some cities, they have their own lane on major roads and it's important to stay out of that bus-only lane when specified. Also remember to: