'Driver Myths' campaign aims to improve pedestrian safety in Utah

'Driver Myths' campaign aims to improve pedestrian safety in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — A new campaign from the Utah Department of Transportation and Utah Department of Public Safety aims to improve pedestrian safety by comparing common "Driver Myths" with mythological beasts.

"There's perception that a lot of these [auto-pedestrian] crashes occur in the summer months, but we do see a huge increase in pedestrian fatalities in the fall, especially October and November. That's because the weather's still nice enough that people get out. You have Halloween, you have [the switch from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time], which it gets darker earlier. So those are all contributing factors," said UDOT spokesman John Gleason.

The myths addressed in the campaign are:

Myth 1. If you can see them, you can stop in time.

At a speed of only 25 mph, the average car needs 110 ft of distance to come to a complete stop. That’s roughly the same length as four killer whales or one plump dragon, minus the fire breath Slow down and scan for pedestrians in areas of high foot-traffic, like residential neighborhoods, castle drawbridges, parks and schools.

Myth 2. It’s okay to pass a car that’s stopped at a green light

Until you know for sure that a car hasn’t stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, it’s not okay to pass. You never know what kind of creature could be lurking in front of a vehicle stopped at a green light. Pedestrians always have the right of way at all intersections. Traffic must yield until they have crossed, even if the light is green.

Myth 3. Crosswalks exist at every intersection, whether they are marked or not. All vehicles must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks

Near schools, crosswalks have thick white bars instead of thin lines. At these intersections, pedestrians must be completely crossed before the car can proceed, even when the light is green. At all other intersections, marked and unmarked, cars may proceed through the intersection if the light is green and the pedestrian is not on the vehicle’s half of the road.

Myth 4. Blind spots only exist on the interstate

Today’s vehicle safety features are great, but can lead to a false sense of security. Moving pedestrians, especially children and smaller mythical creatures can be overlooked by vehicle sensors. Scan all mirrors and cameras multiple times, but always look in the direction that the vehicle is traveling.

Myth 5. Pedestrians are less likely to be out at night

Dusk, dawn and dark hours are the most dangerous times to drive through intersections. Because of unpredictable light and weather conditions, it’s hard to see who might be lurking across the lane. Nearly half of all Utah pedestrian fatalities occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight.

Before turning right on green, check left for traffic, then right for pedestrians. They could be coming towards you, or creeping right next to you. Make sure no pedestrians are in the crosswalk as you turn.

The campaign follows a similar "Pedestrian Myths" campaign launched in 2018.

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