Road safety is one of the most important things that children need to learn. It is essential for them to understand how to stay safe when they are around roads and traffic. Teaching road safety to kids can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By using simple explanations and real-life examples, you can help your child understand why it is important to stay safe on the roads. Here are some tips on teaching road safety to kids:
Crossing the road
One of the most important things that children need to learn about road safety is how to cross roads safely. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 4,735 pedestrian fatalities in the United States in 2017. Of those deaths, 29% were children under the age of 15, highlighting the importance of teaching road safety to kids. Luckily, however, most traffic accident are minor, but you should still seek the help of a pedestrian accident lawyer if your child is involved in an accident. To avoid an accident in the first place, here are the basics of road safety according to the Green Cross Code:
- THINK: Think about where the safest place to cross the road would be
- STOP: Stop and stand at the edge of the pavement where it is safest to cross
- LOOK: Look both ways and at all junctions to check for traffic
- LISTEN: Listen for the sound of approaching vehicles
- LOOK AGAIN: Do one final check to ensure nothing has changed
- CROSS: Don’t walk diagonally and never run
Whilst the Green Cross Code can teach your children the basics, there are some things they need to look out for. For example, if there is no pedestrian crossing nearby, they will need to find a safe place to cross themselves. This means they should avoid crossing between parked vehicles, on the brow of a hill or on a blind bend. These places make it impossible for a driver to see them, and make it harder for them to see approaching traffic.
Similarly, listening for approaching traffic is not always going to work. As more and more cars become electric, traffic is becoming harder to hear. Whilst this is great for reducing noise pollution, it’s not good news for road safety. Cyclists are also hard to hear, so looking and looking again is often a more reliable way of crossing a road safely.
Wearing bright clothes
Another important tip for teaching road safety to kids is to explain the importance of wearing bright clothing when they are near roads. This will help drivers see them and avoid hitting them. This is especially important at night or during bad weather when visibility is low. On these occasions, lights around the wrists and ankles are a good idea.
In urban areas, your kids may not need to worry about this so much. Streetlights do a good job of improving visibility, so extra lights won’t do much. In rural areas, however, lights are vital. Country lanes are full of hills and blind bends, whilst streetlights are often non-existent or dim. Reflective strips can help to improve visibility further – perfect for if their school doesn’t allow brightly coloured coats.
Playing in the road
Whilst it used to be common to see children playing in the road, it’s now a dangerous past-time. Cars were few and far between and went much slower than modern vehicles, so it wasn’t so risky to play football or do chalk drawings in the middle of the road. Nowadays, however, it’s best for children to stick to the pavement, even if the area you live in is quiet. Make sure your children know that if their ball rolls into the road, it’s important not to run after it. A ball is much easier to replace if it pops under a car than a head!
For older children, it’s a good idea to teach them what various road signs mean. For example, knowing what a one-way sign looks like can help them to cross a one-way road. If they know which direction the traffic is coming in, they can look the right way. Similarly, they should know what the red man and green man means at a pedestrian crossing, and they should know to listen for the beeping before starting to cross. The Green Cross Code explains this in more detail.
Teaching road safety to kids is essential for their safety. By using simple explanations and real-life examples, you can help your child understand why it is important to stay safe on the roads. By following these tips, you can help keep your child safe when they are around traffic and roads.