Burnaby, British Columbia – With the announcement that Vancouver police will be cracking down on both drivers and pedestrians for intersection infractions over the next week, the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) is reminding all road users about safety.

“In an intersection it isn’t about who has the right of way,” said Allan Lamb, president and COO of the BCAA Road Safety Foundation. “The laws for intersection use are to ensure the safety of both pedestrians and drivers.”

Lamb said that drivers have to pay attention in intersections but pedestrians should never assume that a driver has seen them. The use of handheld electronic devices has proven to be a deadly distraction, and new studies show that pedestrians who use them also become less aware of situations around them. Safe Kids Canada has reported that preliminary research with 10- and 11-year-old children provides strong evidence that talking on a cell phone while crossing a street increases a child’s risk of being struck by a vehicle by up to one-third.

The BCAA Road Safety Foundation offers the following tips.

For pedestrians:

– Always use crosswalks and pedestrian-activated signals when they are available.

– When crossing a street, walk instead of run, which allows drivers more time to see and come to a safe stop.

– Look left, right, ahead and then behind, and watch for vehicles turning right on a red light, as drivers may not be looking. Continue to look left and right at all lanes of traffic while crossing the road.

– Pause until all vehicles are stopped, and never step out into traffic until you have made eye contact with drivers and are certain they will stop.

– When stepping off the curb in front of a vehicle that has stopped to let you cross, don’t proceed until you have checked all other lanes. Drivers may not realize that other vehicles have stopped for pedestrians.

– Don’t let children run out ahead of you.

– Do not talk, text, game or search for a song on your device while crossing the street.

Tips for drivers:

– Decrease your speed in busy areas, such as main intersections, to give yourself more time to stop.

– Be aware of what other motorists are doing. If you are unsure why a vehicle has stopped, use caution, slow down, and be prepared to stop in case the vehicle is stopping for a pedestrian.

– When stopping for a pedestrian, don’t block the crosswalk. If you pull right up to the lines, your vehicle may obscure the view of other drivers who may not realize someone is crossing. Wait until pedestrians have completely cleared the adjacent lanes before proceeding.

– When waiting to turn left at an intersection, be especially aware of pedestrians crossing the street to your left. When you spot a gap in traffic, make sure no one is in the crosswalk before you make your turn.

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