Police urge caution if you’re walking or behind the wheel

Staying safe on the road

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Something as simple as crossing the street can be a dangerous game.

After three pedestrians died in separate incidents recently, a local driving instructor is urging drivers to avoid distractions.

“The most important thing in my opinion, and this I teach in the pre-licensing course, is distractions,” said Anthony Garcia, who owns Freeway Driving School. “Distractions are a huge factor in all of this. Cell phones, put them away. That text is not that important. That phone call is not that important.”

But police will tell you, safety is a two-way street. Pedestrians have to do their part as well.

“Pedestrians, it’s important to look both ways before crossing the street,” Watertown Police Sgt. George Cummings said. “If there’s a crosswalk, we encourage them to use crosswalks. At the crosswalks, push the button, wait for the safe-to-walk signal, at that point go ahead and cross the street.”

When it gets dark, it brings a whole new set of challenges, it’s just harder to see at night. Cummings says that pedestrians have to be extra cautious.

“At nighttime, wear reflective clothing, possibly carrying a flashlight with them,” he said. “If they’re bicyclists, they’re encouraged to have a light on their bike, reflectors on the bike. If they can wear any kind of reflective or bright clothing as well at night, that’ll help increase their visibility.”

And with the winter months coming up, both men say it’s crucial for drivers to check their tires for traction and to clean their windshield when it snows.

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