As a driver, dealing with the unpredictability of pedestrians can be a challenging task. They are liable to do anything on the roads and can be quite a hazard to drivers, especially inexperienced learners. Of course not every pedestrian goes out to be a nuisance on the roads, in some cases drivers need to be more alert and aware. I write this after reading the tragic news that a woman in Mayo has become the 5th person to be killed on Irish roads this year (2015). So without going into any individual case, it reminded me how vulnerable some people are and how careless others are.
As an Instructor, I have seen many cases of pedestrians acting in a cavalier manner on the roads. For example, crossing a busy road without looking (unless you include looking into their mobile phone screen), young lads pushing their pals off the path, casual walking/running on a road even though there is a perfectly functioning footpath available, criss crossing in between parked cars instead of walking further to use the pedestrian crossing or calmly crossing a street on a bend or corner while listening to music. It seems certain pedestrians have an air of invincibility about them, and this can be especially true of young men and teenage boys and drunk people.
Almost two-thirds of pedestrian fatalities occur at night and in many cases such accidents could be prevented or alleviated if the person was to be wearing a high visibility vest or reflective armbands. At night a driver will not see a pedestrian as soon, even though the pedestrian may see and hear the car. It's important to see but also to be seen, so wearing high visibility clothing and carrying a torch could be a life saver.
Drivers should always be alert for pedestrians, especially in the early to mid afternoon when the schools are finishing. Try watch their body language, for example a look over the shoulder could indicate a person is about to cross the road, or if two large groups of people are meeting each other one of the group could temporarily use the road to get past, plan ahead by slowing down or moving out to the right a little bit if it's safe. If driving on a street with a lot of parked cars, try look under the cars briefly for shadows or feet, or through the windows of parked cars as you may see the outline of a person. A driver should be constantly scanning ahead and not engaging in tunnel vision or focusing on the one thing too much.
In summary pedestrians should not just barge out on the road, be careful, stop, look, listen. Drivers need to understand that people are vulnerable on the road. Mutual respect goes a long way.