INDEPENDENT NEWS

Red Means Stop - Traffic Caution Needed

Published: Tue 2 Nov 1999 09:09 AM
Auckland City Council - City Scene
This week's column is written by Penrose Ward Councillor Jan Welch, chairperson of the Zoo Enterprise Board.
On a recent Sunday morning I saw one of the most potentially horrifying incidents I have ever watched. I was backing out of my drive on the Ellerslie-Panmure Highway, and stopped to let a young mother pushing a baby in a pram go by. She stopped at the pedestrian lights ready to cross the road. However, she did not push the buttont to activate the signals so she could safely cross that very busy road.
She waited until there was a gap in the traffic and ran across the crossing, putting her own life and her baby's at risk.
Maybe she was in a hurry, but the consequences of her action could have been very serious. A few seconds spent waiting for the light to change could have been the difference between life and death.
We have all been guilty of similar errors of judgement when we want to get somewhere in a hurry. However, whether walking or driving, there is simply never an excuse to compromise our own safety and the safety of others. The old saying about more haste, less speed is only too true in our modern world.
There are a number of road safety issues I would like to remind you about:
Intersections -
* Always indicate when changing lanes to let others know you are turning
* Take a life saving second look to ensure you know what is behind or beside you
* Take special care when turning right
* Check your speed
* Concentrate at all times.
Red lights -
Red light running is prevalent in Auckland City. Red means STOP! Slow down when approaching an orange light
Pedestrians -
* There have been 26 fatalities on city roads so far this year, eight involved pedestrians
* Pedestrians and motorists have collective responsibilities to reduce the number of pedestrian-related accidents
* Motorists need to expect the unexpected, and take extra care.
The information in the bullet points above is clear and simple. But how often do we ignore these simple messages? Have you ever waited at an intersection only to find the driver in front is turning, but hasn't bothered to signal?
How often have you let a driver merge when cars are waiting to enter a busy road?
Keep an eye out for a silver Daihatsu Mira. If the driver signals to you she wants to join motorway traffic, or is changing lanes, let her in. She will always signal a 'thank you' in return.

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