School is back in full swing for every district in the nation, save those affected by the recent hurricanes. If your child is walking, whether across the street or for several blocks, it’s important that you have instilled pedestrian safety firmly in their heads.
Pedestrians are struck by vehicles every day. The reasons for these accidents are as unique as the accidents themselves, and they may be the fault of the walker or the driver. Each accident has its own set of circumstances, but your young pedestrian can make every effort to avoid being struck.
When you take the time to teach your child more than to simply look both ways before they cross, you are giving them the knowledge needed to keep themselves safe. You are also eliminating some of the worry that you may feel when your child walks out the door. Here are some tips for teaching your child how to be a responsible walker.
Most parents know to teach their children to look both ways before they cross a street. We teach our children to look left, then right and then left again before they walk forward. Don’t stop the lesson there. Teach your child to continue looking as they cross. There is no invisible force field surrounding a crosswalk. Your child should keep their eyes up and looking to the left and right as they are making their way across the street. This will help your child remain alert and able to move to safety should a car decide to run through an intersection.
Teach your young one to make eye contact with every nearby driver before they cross the road. Eye contact means that the driver is alert to their surroundings, as is your child. When your child makes eye contact with a driver at a crosswalk, your child knows that the driver is paying attention, and the driver knows that your child is going to proceed. If a driver is not paying attention and does not make eye contact, your child should wait to cross.
Show your child how to properly use a crosswalk. Teach them to proceed to an available walk before moving into the road. It may be tempting to your child to cross a section of the street that is closer to their destination and shaves a bit of time off their walk, but this isn’t safe. Your child should know that if there isn’t a marked crosswalk, they should cross at a stop sign or signal.
Sidewalks are made for walking and streets are made for driving. Your child should always walk on a sidewalk — make sure they understand this. If there is no sidewalk available, which is the case in some areas, your child should walk facing traffic and as far to the left as possible.
Kids love technology. It may be unusual for you to see your child without a phone or tablet in their hand. If your young one seems to be attached to their cell phone, one of the best lessons you can deliver is to put it in a bag or pocket when they are walking. Eyes should be kept up and forward, paying close attention to the path ahead. If you are walking with your child, be sure to lead by example.
If your child walks with their headphones on or earbuds in, teach them to turn down the volume so that they can hear traffic and other noises in their immediate area. Remember how high you had the volume on your headphones when you were a kid? It can be incredibly difficult to hear a car’s engine or honking horn with the music cranked up.
There will come a time when your child will be walking and need to call home or take a call. Teach your child to move to a safe area and stop walking before they start talking. Your child can return to their route when the conversation is over.
When you take the time to teach your child how to be a responsible pedestrian, you are ensuring that they have every opportunity to make safe choices. While your child will not be able to avoid every situation, they can avoid many. Use the tips above when explaining pedestrian safety to your children.
If your child is involved in a pedestrian versus car accident in West Palm Beach, you have legal rights. Reach out to our experienced team of personal injury attorneys to discover more about your options. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills that you have already paid and those you will incur in the future. Call today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation and let us assist you in making the best decisions for your situation.