Pedestrians urged to watch out

In a bid to reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities this festive season, the Department of Transport has urged pedestrians to be more vigilant on the road.

Collen Msibi, spokesman for the department, said pedestrians were the most vulnerable road users.

"Given that more than 40percent of fatalities involve pedestrians, we have made it a priority to reduce pedestrian-related accidents this festive season," he said.

Msibi said 276 pedestrians had been killed since December 1.

Last year 391 pedestrians were killed on the roads in the corresponding period.

Msibi attributed the high number of accidents on the roads involving pedestrians to excessive drinking.

Msibi said it was important to avoid drinking and walking on the roads.

"Most of the pedestrians who have been killed on our roads were found to have high levels of alcohol in their bloodstream," he said.

He urged motorists to be on the lookout for pedestrians at night and when visibility was poor.

"Pedestrians often underestimate the speed of a vehicle and overestimate its distance when crossing the road," he said.

According to the department's Arrive Alive campaign, a pedestrian can be killed or seriously injured by a car travelling at only 35kmh .

Arrive Alive has put together safety tips to help both pedestrians and motorists.

They include:

l Cross roads at intersections or at pedestrian bridges;

Walk straight across the street - the shorter the distance crossed, the less time you are in danger;

l Avoid walking on the road;

l If you have to walk on the road, walk on the right, as close to the edge as possible, and face the traffic;

l Cross only when it is safe and keep looking in both directions; listen for oncoming traffic; and

l Wear bright clothes at night to increase your visibility to motorists.

The death toll on the roads stands at 715, caused by 610 accidents since December 1. Last year 880 people were killed in 739 accidents in thecorresponding period.- BuaNews