Drivesmart: Near miss on the road

I received a very detailed e-mail this week from a lady who was walking in a dark, rural area and was almost hit by a car

I received a very detailed e-mail this week from a lady who was walking in a dark, rural area and was almost hit by a car as she crossed the highway after taking care to yield to traffic.

She is also curious to find out if she was to blame for the situation.

There is no indication of what she might or might not have done to identify herself to approaching drivers. In the absence of street lighting, light clothing, reflectors, arm bands, flashlights or wands can be very useful to establish a presence. Drivers cannot react to things that they do not see or see soon enough to avoid.

Pedestrians tend to overestimate how visible they are to drivers.

On the other side of the windshield, drivers must always be attentive for both the expected and the unexpected, including yielding to pedestrians that don’t have the opportunity to cross in well-lit intersections with marked crosswalks. The law imposes a duty not to collide with a pedestrian on a highway and to warn the pedestrian by using the horn if necessary.

This story serves to underline that interactions between pedestrians and drivers are co-operative in nature. The highways are not for the exclusive use of one over the other.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit

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