The US Lifehacker staff works out of Times Square in New York, which means we’re constantly under the threat of being hit by a passing car. Just today, an SUV nearly ran me over, even though it had a red light.
Well, over on Reddit, cinema7D had one necessary (and likely obvious) tip the next time you’re crossing a street: Make eye contact with the drivers of oncoming cars so they won’t run you over.
Yes, you’re probably making eye contact to make sure they aren’t about to mow you down anyway, but it’s vital they meet your gaze in a momentary stare-down so they understand it’s your right of way.
Of course, eye contact alone isn’t enough here, and you don’t want to lull yourself into a sense of false security. Pedestrians might get the false impression that our gaze has been met by a driver, particularly if they’re wearing sunglasses or the vehicle’s windows are tinted.
To improve your odds, lift a hand and wave or signal a friendly “stop” gesture to the driver. This tends to force them to make eye contact, or at the very least, makes it more likely that they’ll see you. In an ideal situation, they wave back so you know they see you and are giving you the right of way.
If you’re on a bicycle and a vehicle might cross your path through a turn, always look at the passing vehicle’s wheels, too, as trueanalytic writes. “This gives you the earliest indication that you are about to become a pancake and hence the most possible time to react.”
If you’re coming from behind a vehicle and can’t make eye contact with a driver, this might be your best tool in avoiding a collision.