This week's tip, taken from the California Driver Handbook, concerns what precautions drivers should take -- and what protocols are in play -- when they encounter a blind pedestrian. You may want to pass this list along to your fleet drivers as a friendly reminder.
Pedestrians using guide dogs or white canes with or without a red tip must be given the right-of-way at all times. These pedestrians are partially or totally blind. Be especially careful when turning corners or backing up when these pedestrians are in your vicinity.
Here are some suggestions for helping pedestrians who are blind:
- Don't stop your car more than five feet from the crosswalk. A blind pedestrian uses the sound of your engine as a guide, so drive up to the crosswalk to allow the person to hear you. Important: Drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles must be extra alert to blind pedestrians, as they may be unaware of your presence due to the nearly silent nature of these vehicles.
- Don't give the blind pedestrian verbal directions. The blind pedestrian listens to all traffic sounds before deciding to cross the street.
- Don't wait too long for the blind pedestrian to cross the street. When a blind person pulls in his or her cane and steps away from the intersection, this gesture usually means for you to go.
- Don't turn right on red without looking first. Look for any pedestrian or other traffic before starting your turn.
- Stop at all crosswalks where pedestrians are waiting.
- Don't stop in the middle of a crosswalk. This forces the blind pedestrian to go around your car and into traffic outside of the crosswalk.
- Don't block any sidewalk.
- Don't honk your horn at a blind person. The blind person has no idea who you are honking at and may be startled by the noise.