Pedestrians on the road are very vulnerable (especially children). They need to cross roads and in some areas may even have to walk along them. Don’t forget that you’re probably a pedestrian too; and once you get behind the wheel it will hopefully change the way you view traffic. It can be a real eye-opener when you first start driving, you become much more aware of the dangers and you’ll be surprised at some of the things people are willing to do.
When you’re driving in busy areas where there are shoppers lining the streets, you must keep your speed down and your eyes open. You need to constantly scan the pavements as well as the road ahead in case of anyone deciding to step out.
This is especially important on roads where there are lots of parked cars. Not only do you need to be aware of doors opening, but there is also a good chance that pedestrians may step out from between them. Keep a lookout for any signs of movement under and above the vehicles which otherwise block your view.
Some busy roads may have central islands to allow pedestrians to cross the roads in two parts. There may also be places where the kerb is lowered on both sides to allow wheelchair users to use them. If you need to stop in traffic at any time, leave a gap so that these areas can still be used while you’re waiting.
It’s good practise to show courtesy to pedestrians on the road and to allow them to cross wherever it’s safe and convenient, but never be tempted to wave them across; they may step into the path of another vehicle. Also, if you decide at any point to stop to allow people to cross, use your mirrors to make sure that nothing is about to come past you, and that a following driver isn’t going to be taken by surprise (mirrors before changing speed).
Whenever you’re about to join a new road, you should always give way to people who are already crossing or about to step out. Be particularly aware of elderly people who may lack awareness, those who appear to have mobility problems, and the young.
Children can be notoriously unpredictable around our roads and may act without thinking. As a driver you have to think for them, anticipate, keep your speed down, and always be ready to act.