Section 3: Situations of Uncertainty - What Now? -- Page
8 of 14 Self-Study Guide | OUTLINE | INDEX | Section 1 | Section 2 | Section 3 | Section 4 |Section 5 | REVIEW |
Decide whether the risk is acceptable -- considerations
So now you know it is "safe" for you to cross when the risk is acceptable to you.
Students will learn to assess the risk for each situation, and make informed and well-reasoned decisions as to whether it is acceptable to them, based on objective observations of the important factors.
"Is this crossing safe?"
- Students who are too young to make these decisions will, at appropriate ages, learn the various concepts and skills they
need to assess situations so that ultimately, they can make good street-crossing decisions.
- People often feel that the risk of crossing a given street is acceptable at certain times, and not at others.
This is because the level of risk at each crossing can vary widely, based on variations in factors such as traffic volume and speed, pedestrians present, warning times of approaching vehicles, road conditions and visibility, etc.
One example was explained beautifully by my client at the Situation of Uncertainty she encountered on her route to the swimming pool.
- The decision of whether the risk of crossing is acceptable may be affected by factors other than the level of risk.
For example, in Scenario #3 on page 13, Carlo was not willing to accept the risk of crossing even though the level of risk was very low because he didn't feel comfortable having to deal with the unknown as he crossed.
- Sometimes people have to balance or choose among various considerations.
For example if crossing at a particular crosswalk has a higher risk of being seriously injured or killed than crossing in the middle of the next block, the pedestrian will have to consider the benefits of having the right of way versus the risk of being hit.
Over the years I've learned that when I am teaching students to recognize Situations of Uncertainty and I ask them to analyze a crossing situation, I should avoid asking them if it would be "safe" for them to cross when I actually wanted to ask them if they can hear/(see) the traffic with enough warning to be confident that it's clear to cross.
In Section 5, Vignette #2 ("Safety vs. Confidence") I tell the story about how I learned that asking people if it's safe to cross is very different from asking them if they can tell whether or not it is clear to cross.