Educating Drivers

Roadway safety is a shared responsibility, and motorists have their fair share of things to do to help keep pedestrians safe and comply with the rules of the road.

Key messages for drivers

Some general driver safety messages can be found in Walking Safely. Others include:

  • 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.
  • In most states, every intersection is a legal crosswalk, whether marked or not. Many drivers do not realize this. Supplement messages to stop for pedestrians who are in a crosswalk with information about unmarked crosswalks. When you stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, stop two cars 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 a car stopped in one lane until you are sure it is not waiting for a pedestrian to cross.
  • Don't assume that pedestrians see you or that they will act predictably. They may be physically or mentally impaired, or intoxicated.
  • When you are turning, you may have to wait for a "gap" in traffic. Be aware that while you are watching for that "gap," pedestrians may have moved into your intended path. Double-check before you turn.
  • Be especially attentive around schools and in neighborhoods where children are active. Drive like you would want people to drive in front of your own home.

Strategies for educating drivers

  • Plug into local media — have driver safety awareness campaigns on TV and in newspapers, host a commute-time radio talk series on pedestrian safety issues, or develop an ad campaign to be displayed on billboards, in parking garages, or in other places most visible to drivers.
  • Most walkers are drivers, too. Place and distribute driver safety material alongside pedestrian safety material.
  • Couple education with Enforcement to reinforce driver knowledge of and compliance with pedestrian-related laws.

Helpful links

Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety, Inc.
These Pedestrian Issue Links are provided by PEDS (Pedestrians Educating Drivers on Safety, Inc.).
Be Alert and Share the Road
This one-page NHTSA publication provides advice and information about sharing the road with motor vehicles.