Caterina Ventrella

Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

Back to the Basics: Five Steps to Street Safety

In Uncategorized on February 2, 2010 at 8:05 am

The recent chain of pedestrian fatalities has shaken up Toronto. Each incident tells an unfortunate story that hit too close to home.

The 14 fatalities are mapped out as follows:


No need to connect the dots. The graph won’t reveal a sequential pattern. The situation is troubling, but panic is not necessary. City officials responded on impulse by proposing new policies. But as I suspected, Toronto Traffic Services revealed no groundbreaking explanation. There is no common cause in any of the fatalities. The incidents are a random clutter of occurrences.

This means no finger-pointing. The situation forces both drivers and pedestrians to take a hard look at their habits. I’ve put pedestrians on my radar the past few weeks, and my very independent, very informal study revealed – we all just got a little careless. We forgot the basics.

To help us survive the streets once again, I went back to the basics to compile a list of five steps to street safety: 

        1. Look both ways

 This tops the list because it’s the most important, yet most lacking. I noticed many people fail to lift their head before crossing, let alone scan both directions. Pedestrians, make sure there are no oncoming cars before crossing. Pause for a quick moment to judge the speed of oncoming cars. Drivers, scan the sidewalks and crossways carefully before turning.

2. Don’t impair peripheral vision

Hoods, hats, and sunglasses block peripheral vision. Keeping warm is key, but consider pulling down your hood to get a good view when crossing. The same applies to drivers who like to stay extra toasty in the car.

3. Avoid distractions from handheld devices

Smart phones, iPods, and cell phones require much attention. Be cautious when talking and walking. Texting and tweeting is a no-no. Driver’s, the grace period is over , no more handheld devices while driving.









4. Tone down the tunes

Headphones and the radio should not block out sounds that can signal warning, like a honking horn, or the squeaky sounds of oncoming street cars.

5. Don’t jaywalk

Pedestrians, it’s illegal and it increases the chances of getting hurt. Avoid the lazy route, and use the nearest crossway. Drivers, always be alert for careless crossers.