All kinds of people use our roadways. Even some animals use the roadways from time to time! We’ve all seen angry drivers who choose to cut people off or tailgate. It can be frustrating to share the road with aggressive drivers. While we can’t control the actions of those around us, we can choose to be kind instead of reacting dangerously. November 13th is Kindness Day, so here are 3 roadway users you can choose to be extra kind to on the roadway.
Pedestrians are more vulnerable on the roadway because they’re not protected by a vehicle. An estimated 6,227 pedestrians were killed last year, which was an increase from previous years. If you see a pedestrian crossing the street, always slow down and be prepared to stop, even if you have the right-of-way, and even when they’re on one of those annoying scooters. Keep an eye out for pedestrians in driveways and alleys, in parking lots, getting out of parked cars on the sides of busy streets, and in school zones.
Motorcyclists are greatly overrepresented in fatal crashes in the United States. A motorcycle rider is much more vulnerable than the driver of a car, truck, van or SUV, because they are more exposed. The death rate per registered motorcycle is more than three times the death rate per registered passenger car.
In motorcycle accidents, the rate of injury is extremely high, and motorcycles are harder to see than passenger vehicles because of their smaller size. Motorcycles are also more difficult to maneuver in poor roadway conditions and in hazardous situations. Here are a few ideas for sharing the roadway with motorcycles:
- Pass correctly. Don’t share the lane while passing, and don’t get too close or go too fast. The blast of air could blow a motorcycle out of control.
- Always use your turn signals and watch for motorcycles that may be hard to see behind other vehicles. When turning left at 4-way intersections, always be alert and watch for motorcyclists following behind vehicles in oncoming traffic. Be patient and look for motorcyclists.
- Follow motorcycles from at least four to six seconds behind. They will need this time to maneuver in the event of an emergency. If there is not enough stopping room, both motorcyclists and drivers tend to make poor decisions in emergencies.
- Before turning or changing lanes, take great care to check your blind spot adequately. Motorcyclists are often missed because a driver didn’t check their blind spot. Remember, motorcycles are shorter and narrower than other vehicles and are harder to see. You don’t want to hit or clip a motorcycle while changing lanes.
Taking a little bit of extra caution around motorcycles could save a life.
The wildlife you encounter will be different depending on where in the country you are. You may come across coyotes, deer, geese, squirrels, turtles, lizards, snakes, or even just cats. One way to be kind to the wildlife in your area is to be knowledgeable about their habits. If you live in an area where deer are active at night, be mindful of that. There may be an increase of geese in your neighborhood during the summer, and you might notice that turtles are more active in the morning and evening. While you should never swerve to avoid hitting wildlife (this could cause an even worse collision), you should be aware of their movements and when they are most active. Drive with caution in areas where wildlife are more likely to be present. Avoid hitting wildlife if at all possible, but don’t put yourself or others in danger trying to save a wild animal.
Of course, we should always drive safely around all roadway users. Take the extra time to be patient with these more vulnerable roadway users and show them some kindness every day of the year. To learn more about how to sharpen your driving skills, take one of our online courses! We love to help drivers like you brush up on new traffic laws and learn defensive driving techniques! Check out our website to see what courses we offer in your state and register today!