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The rainy weather and low visibility can create deadly and dangerous situations on the roads for pedestrians, especially during the darker months.

In British Columbia, sadly 58 pedestrians are killed on average and another 2,400 are injured every year according to statistics from ICBC. Furthermore, 76 per cent of crashes involving pedestrians happen at intersections.

The responsibility ultimately lies with both drivers and pedestrians to keep each other safe on the roads.

For drivers, this means driving without distraction and staying focused on the task at hand at all times. Keep an eye out for any pedestrians in dark clothing and be ready to yield when turning at intersections.

Also, stay extra alert when near transit stops for possible jay walkers being blocked out of your line of sight by transit busses. Be mindful of your speed while in school zones – excited children can forget to look before crossing the street, so it’s up to the driver to look twice and be ready to yield in school zones and residential areas. And don’t forget to turn on your headlights – be visible to vehicles and pedestrians alike.

As pedestrians, it’s important to adhere to the rules of the road and obey traffic lights. Don’t jaywalk. Wear reflective clothing, especially when it’s raining or dark out. Remember to be careful at intersections and stay alert – take off your headphones and only use your smartphone when it’s safe to do so.

We’ve all been taught the rules of the road at one point, but we’re almost all guilty of breaking them when we’re in a rush. It’s goes without saying that it’s important to look both ways before crossing a street, and make eye contact with the driver when crossing. Follow the pedestrian signals, not the traffic signal and stay on the sidewalk.

Over the years, vehicle manufacturers have been working to create new technology that will protect not only the car’s occupants, but pedestrians as well. Over the past couple of months, media outlets have reported on different manufacturers working on new innovative airbag technology.

More often than not, pedestrians can sustain serious injuries not only from the initial impact, but from the impacts that happen after the collision. Airbags positioned outside of the vehicle in the fender region to protect struck pedestrians from the secondary impacts that happen on the hood or windshield.

Car-to-car communication was a hot topic at auto shows last year, and tech firms like Cohda Wireless are working to create systems that can communicate with pedestrians through their smartphones.

While this technology has still yet to be put through the test of time, the best way to ensure the safety of everyone is to stay alert and be courteous on the road – regardless of whether you’re a motorist, cyclist or pedestrian.

Vehicles are big machines that can be very dangerous during collisions and pedestrian safety technology is sure to evolve especially as sensors and auto-collision systems continue to evolve.

The 98thVancouver International Auto Show returns to the Convention Centre West from March 28 to April 1, 2018. For more information on the Show and to purchase tickets, visit www.VancouverInternationalAutoShow.com.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC.
You can email him at bqualey@newcardealers.ca.

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