Fairfield Police Department Offers Pedestrian and Driving Safety Tips

FAIRFIELD — With warmer weather on its way and with more people walking and bicycling outside due to the current stay-at-home advisory in effect, the Fairfield Police Department would like to remind drivers to share the road and remain attentive while driving.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has changed many peoples’ daily lives, and as a result more people are at home during the daytime.

With Fairfield’s public parks and beaches closed, our officers are seeing a lot more pedestrians and bicyclists on the town’s sidewalks and roads than we typically would. The department asks that pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and motorcyclists all remain vigilant about pedestrian safety and be mindful of their surroundings.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 445 pedestrians are injured across the country every day and in the next hour, on average, one pedestrian will die from injuries in a traffic crash.

To prevent accidents and injuries, the Fairfield Police Department recommends the following safety tips provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for pedestrians:

  • Stay on sidewalks whenever they are available.
  • If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from cars as possible.
  • Keep alert at all times. Don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
  • Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections whenever possible. This is where drivers expect pedestrians.
  • If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows you enough time to cross safely, and continue to watch for traffic as you cross.
  • Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach you to make sure you are seen.
  • Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night. If you don’t have reflective gear, wear a white shirt over your outer clothing.
  • Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.

Fairfield Police also recommend that pedestrians carry a form of identification in case there is an accident or medical emergency and remind them to never walk on railroad tracks.

Driving Safety Tips:

  • Watch for pedestrians everywhere, at all times of the day.
  • Avoid distracted driving and never use your cell phone or mobile device while driving.
  • Yield to bicyclists as you would to a motor vehicle. Do not underestimate their speed, especially when making a turn that crosses their path.
  • Be cautious at parking lots, stop signs, when backing up and when parking. Watch for other vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists at these times.
  • Be cautious at night and during inclement weather when visibility may be poor.
  • Be cautious at crosswalks. Slow down and prepare to stop when turning or nearing a crosswalk. Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Stop a safe distance away from the crosswalk to give other vehicles ample time to see the pedestrians that are crossing so that they can also stop. Do not pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk.
  • Follow slower speed limits in neighborhoods with signage that children are present.
  • Drivers turning right on red need to look to the right and behind to avoid hitting a bicyclist that may be approaching from the right rear. Stop completely, look left-right-left and behind, and then turn right on red.
  • Give cyclists extra space. Do not pass them too closely.
  • Bicycles and motorcycles can be difficult to spot because of their smaller profiles and because drivers are conditioned to look for other cars, not cyclists.
  • Remember that motorcyclists have the same privileges as other drivers. Be sure to give riders a full lane of travel, and always keep a close watch for motorcyclists — especially at intersections and on highways. Sport utility vehicles, delivery vans, and large trucks may block motorcyclists from your view.
  • Anticipate a motorcyclist’s maneuvers. A piece of road debris that poses no threat to a car may be deadly for a motorcyclist. Predict evasive moves a motorcyclist might take by always being aware of your surroundings. Also, don’t follow motorcycles too closely. Allow enough room for the motorcyclist to take evasive actions.
  • Drivers must always be aware of their surroundings. Remember: Check twice, save a life.

Motorcycle and Bicycle Safety:

Motorcyclists and bicyclists are also reminded to take safety precautions. These include:

  • Making your presence known to drivers by wearing an appropriate helmet and contrasting clothing or reflective gear.
  • Avoiding riding in a driver’s blind spot.
  • Being cautious of cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in a parking lot.
  • Using proper turn signals.
  • Always following the rules of the road.

As we all try to make the best of the current situation, Fairfield Police ask that everyone remains safe and healthy while trying to enjoy the outdoors.