School Safety Week: How to be seen as a pedestrian
We’ve all seen those vehicles ripping through playground zones or failing to slow down when driving by a school. This is not only reckless and careless, but it is continually putting children, parents and themselves at risk. This year, National School Safety Week falls on October 17th-23rdand we’re here to help set the record straight so that everyone feels aware of the risks, educated on the proper protocol and prepared to help children get to and from school safely, whether by foot, bicycle, car or bus.
According to Transport Canada National Collision Database,
“A total of 10,764 children ages five to 16 were hit and injured by motor vehicles while they were on foot or bike between 2008 and 2012. This works out to an average of 2,767 children per year, or approximately eight children per day. These statistics include 79 young pedestrians who were killed and 37 young cyclists killed in crashes with motor vehicles during the same five year period.”
School Safety week may seem like a fluffy topic brought up each year, but the statistics tell a different story. If everyone could drive a bit more cautiously and children understood the rules of the road, perhaps we could help lower these devastating numbers.
One of the easiest ways a family can prepare their children to cross the road is to dress them in bright colours. “As light levels drop, drivers have more difficulty seeing pedestrians and cyclists on the road. Wearing bright colours and retro-reflective material can help you stay safe while walking and cycling,” says Jack Smith, president of the Canada Safety Council. During the months of September, October and November, we watch the hours of sunlight dwindle, and thus drivers adapt to being on the road with much less light to assist them.
There are other lessons you can teach your kids to help ensure their safety on the road, whether you’re there with them or not. Teach them to make eye contact with the driver before crossing the road; this can prevent surprising the driver. This goes hand-in-hand with looking both ways and across all lanes of traffic before crossing the road. If there is no sidewalk, show your children that they should walk on the opposite side of the road facing traffic so that they can see who is coming towards them. Lastly, if your child has a cellphone or music playing device, tell them to leave it alone while they cross the road and have the level of music down/off while they cross so they are fully aware of their surroundings.
The Canada Safety Council seeks to help properly educate all parties involved so that future accidents and injury can be avoided at all costs. By spreading this information, we hope to also play a part in helping save lives and promote safety around school zones.
To learn more about National School Safety Week, visit the government website here.