The new Road Traffic Act that takes effect from tomorrow 1 November introduces many changes to the rules of the highway code, including giving trams right of way over pedestrians at crossings.
The change means that even if you are on a pedestrian crossing and a tram is heading towards you, you are not allowed to get in its way, letting it continue smoothly on its journey. The hope is to increase the level of safety regarding trams, which often collide with pedestrians as they can’t stop so quickly or avoid them.
Even a tram travelling at just 40 kph needs around 50 metres to stop, so this can often catch out some unsuspecting pensioner, for instance. People in general do not fully realise the length of the braking distance of trams, and so it often ends in tragedy.
The revision will bring Slovakia into line with certain other countries in the EU that give trams absolute right of way, and is generally welcomed by experts as a good change. Only time will tell whether or not Slovaks will be aware of the change and act accordingly, though.