I am not a car driver (for obvious reasons) nor have I ever been a driver, so please bere with me here.
I have recently found myself taking a bus for a short route I was happy to walk in the past. Literally for just 2 stops.
Why? I hear you ask.
Simply because of ‘Kind’ drivers.
I attend a meeting every Thursday at a church hall, the road by the church is quite a major route, but a relitively easy road to cross, or rather it was until recently.
The place I cross is a good distance from the junction, the reason for this is so that I can hear the traffic on my road clearer without confusion from the road beside it.
Mizz Fizz takes me to the same spot on the curb and sits awaiting my instruction to go on.
When she sits, I take a step back with my right foot, which not only makes it easier for me to step forward when it is clear to do so, but also to enable road users to see Fizz.
As the traffic starts to slow for the junction I find that many drivers will stop early to allow me to cross.
I can hear that they have stopped.
I can’t see them waving at me, nor can I see it if they flash their headlights.
I stay put.
Without being on a designated crossing Fizz will not cross and nor will I allow her to.
The car engine sitting so close can be of real danger, it can distract from a car coming in the opposite direction, from a cyclist coming up the inside of the car. And even, as I have heard of, a car from overtaking those who were kind enough to stop.
If my hands are free I will wave my hand to move the car on, giving a thumbs up as they move. If not I will jerk my head to indicate they should move on. And mouth ‘Thank You’ as they go on their way.
Thank you to all the cars that stop, for all the acts of kindness, but please do not feel I or any other person with a guide dog or a long cane are being rude. We simply need to ensure we stay safe.
When I cross the road, it is for me to tell Fizz when it is safe to go, not for her to tell me.
So, why get the bus?
Because by getting the bus I can save myself over 15 minutes on average. The bus saves me from having to cross the road, as not only is it one car stopping, but several.
And each time a car stops it slows the traffic flow, meaning that in turn there are less ‘natural breaks’ in the traffic that are safe enough for us to cross safely.
So, next time you see someone waiting to cross the road, don’t feel you are being rude by continuing to drive. You are helping to keep both them and you safe.