Charlotte J. Nash | Chairman, Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners

Last month I focused on safe driving with tips for when you’re behind the wheel. Now with warmer weather and more hours of daylight, more people are out walking and kids are playing in parks until well into the evening, so I want to urge caution for pedestrians and drivers alike.

Drivers often don’t notice people on foot… or bicycles… or skateboards… or scooters – especially if those drivers are fiddling with their phones or checking directions on how to get where they’re going. Plus, some drivers have a tendency to drive too fast. Please slow down and pay attention.

Voter approval of a series of SPLOST sales tax programs provided funding for many safety improvements for both drivers and pedestrians. Many improvement projects take place in school zones so kids and parents can walk safely to school even as others arrive in the carpool line. Improvements often include a combination of turn lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks, flashing lights, stop lights, speed limits, and speed bumps.

We also work on realigning roads and intersections to improve sight lines and straighten danger-ous curves. We have a speed hump program where neighborhoods can petition for traffic calming devices if they meet certain qualifications.

Despite these efforts, we have seen too many pedestrian accidents in Gwinnett lately. For that reason, I am calling on drivers to be more alert, especially in school zones and neighborhoods. Kids often dart into the street without thinking or looking for oncoming vehicles, so the onus is on drivers to be doubly cautious.

Similarly, I am also asking pedestrians to walk safely and to model the behavior for their children. Always watch children closely whenever they are near traffic. When on foot, walk on the sidewalk. In areas that don’t have sidewalks, walk as close to the left side of the street as possible facing oncoming traffic. Always remember, the driver of any vehicle may be texting or talking on the phone even though both activities are now illegal in Georgia. Further, many drivers overestimate how quickly they can stop.

Be sure to cross at crosswalks and wear light, colorful clothing and reflective strips at night for better visibility. Watch for turning traffic and try to make eye contact with drivers. If the light is about change, don’t run across an intersection. Obey all traffic signals, and don’t assume that a vehicle will stop even when it has a red light.

We’re working to make roads and sidewalks as safe as possible for everyone, but the human elements are tough to predict. Please watch out for your safety and that of others.

Our public safety officers have compiled handy safety tips like these about pedestrian safety as well as other topics such as preventing fires and preparing for severe weather. Visit www.gwinnettsafety411.com to take advantage of these resources.