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Take your time – Always look for pedestrians

In a recent Orlando Sentinel column, a local resident shared that they were “ticked off” that drivers were taking too long to drive after a light turns green:

“I get super ticked off when people wait 3-5 seconds after the light turns green to move their car usually followed by lollygagging driving speed. I totally understand taking a last look to make sure no one is running the red light but that’s way too long. This is one reason traffic goes nowhere fast. Get on it people!”

Look, we get it – a green light means go, and we’ve all got places to be. But did you know that green turning arrows often change at the same time that pedestrians receive a walk signal? Drivers may get annoyed when cars wait a few seconds to go, but it doesn’t hurt to take an extra moment to check out your surroundings before hitting the gas.

A “green means go” mentality isn’t the only problem. Many cars in the United States are built with a blind spot between the front windshield and side windows, just big enough to block a person walking from view. So, it’s no surprise that nationwide, left turns are responsible for a quarter of all ped crashes.

Some say the problem ties back to how planners design communities, not roads. Trying to navigate a pedestrian or cyclist through a six-lane roadway or across a 55-MPH street is difficult regardless of blind spots and streetlight timing. Creating neighborhoods with walkers, bikers and public transit in mind, instead of cars, is the best way to eliminate these unnecessary traffic deaths. So, while our local planners and engineers work to change our road design, let’s work to change our driving culture. We can all afford an extra 3-5 seconds to be alert to other road users.

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