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Police Urge Safety as Weather Warms

The Columbus Police Department is reminding area drivers to be aware that with warmer temperatures outside, more people will be out and about enjoing the weather.

The department says to expect and look for increased pedestrian traffic around city parks, schools and neighborhoods. Officers are also asking joggers, walkers and bicyclists to follow the rules of the road and to stay alert as well. With that, the department has released the following safety tips:

                     For pedestrians:

· Cross the street only at intersections and use marked crosswalks where available. Do not cross in the middle of the street or between parked cars. Drivers are not expecting pedestrians to cross mid-block and you are more likely to be hit if you do this.

· Avoid wearing headphones or using your phone when crossing the street.

· Make eye contact with drivers when crossing busy streets and continue to watch out for traffic the entire time you are in the crosswalk regardless of whether or not you have the right-of-way. Your life may depend on it.

· Avoid walking in traffic where there are no sidewalks or crosswalks. If you have to walk on a road that does not have sidewalks, walk facing traffic.

· Stop at the curb and look left, right, and left again before you step into the street. Be sure to evaluate the distance and speed of oncoming traffic before you step out into the street to ensure that a vehicle has adequate distance in which to stop safely.

· Wear bright colors or reflective clothing if you are walking near traffic at night. Carry a flashlight when walking in the dark.

· Always look for signs that a car is about to move (rear lights, exhaust smoke, sound of motor, wheels turning), and never walk behind a vehicle that is backing up.

· Children should not cross streets by themselves or be allowed to play or walk near traffic. Kids are small, unpredictable, and cannot judge vehicle distances and speeds. Never allow a child under 10 to cross the street alone. Always hold your child's hand and teach children to never run or dash into the street.

· In foul weather allow extra time and distance for a vehicle to stop. Do not let umbrellas or jacket hoods block your view of approaching traffic.

· If your view of approaching traffic is blocked by something, move to where you can see (e.g., outside edge of a parked car), stop and look left right left again.

· Watch out for entrances to parking lots. Sidewalks often cross driveways and entrances to parking lots. Always check to see if a car is entering or exiting the parking lot.

· If the intersection has a pedestrian signal, press the button and wait for the pedestrian signal to display the "WALK" indicator. The "WALK" signal indicates that it is safe for a pedestrian facing the signal to proceed across the roadway in that direction. Continue to be alert for traffic at all times while in the roadway and always check for turning vehicles.

· A flashing "DON'T WALK" signal means that a pedestrian should not start to cross the roadway in the direction of the indicator, once the "DON'T WALK" sign begins to flash. This indicates that there is probably not enough time left in the cycle for you to cross the street safely. However, any pedestrian who has partially completed their crossing should finish crossing the street or proceed to a safety island in the same direction in which they were headed.

· For Drivers:

· You can encounter pedestrians anytime and anywhere, even in places where they are not supposed to be found. Pedestrians can be very hard to see, especially in bad weather or at night. You must keep a lookout and slow down if you can't see clearly.

· Stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk, even if it is not marked. When you stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, stop well back so that drivers in the other lanes can also see the pedestrian in time to stop. Cars stopped in the street may be stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross. Do not pass if there is any doubt!

· Don't assume that pedestrians see you or that they will act predictably. They may be physically or mentally impaired, unfamiliar with how to cross the street safely or just not paying attention.

· When you are turning, you often will have to wait for a "gap" in traffic. Beware while you are watching for that "gap," that pedestrians may have moved into your intended path. Look to the right again to check that the crosswalk is clear, before proceeding to turn.

· Be especially attentive around schools and in neighborhoods where children are present. Drive there like you would like people to drive in your own neighborhood!

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 5:33:52 PM

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