Watch out! Schools are back and accidents are on the increase.
Team Stroll7th September 2023
The kids are back to school which means rushed breakfasts and long commutes are back. Amidst the chaos and busyness of weekday mornings, it can be all to easy to forget the basics around road safety. How many times have your arrived at the school gates or office and you can’t event remember driving there?
We are busy, we are distracted so it’s a good time for us all to remind ourselves of some important safety information that affects all road users, kids and drivers alike.
Those of you who are old enough will remember good old Tufty Fluffytail The Hedgehog and with road safety budget cuts there isn’t the same awareness nowadays so share this one far and wide folks.
Speak to your kids about road safety and be mindful yourself as you walk, cycle, drive around of all the hazards around.
1. STOP, LOOK, LISTEN, THINK! while crossing a road
A recent class in toddler sensory reminded me of the big message we learned as kids, STOP, LOOK, LISTEN, THINK.
It might be common sense but for kids this doesn’t come naturally especially those of us with toddlers! Stop in a safe place, look both left and right, do this twice, listen for any oncoming traffic, cyclists or motorcyclists.
Check left and right one more time before crossing the road. Always try and cross a road using traffic lights or a crossing.
2. Never walk or stand behind a bus
You see it all the time, people nipping behind a bus or bin lorry to take a shortcut but it is also one of the most dangerous positions you could put yourself or your child in. In fact, 50% of all child casualties here in the last year have been pedestrians (PSNI Annual Report, 2022/23).
Not only can the driver not see you, but neither can oncoming traffic. It’s best to take a few extra seconds and stand back from the kerb to wait until the bus has moved on, use a dedicated crossing or cross at traffic lights.
3. Respect the Speed limit
Speed limits are there for a reason though not everyone abides by the rules with 1/3 of all motoring offences in the past year being linked to speeding. (PSNI Motoring Offence Report, 2023).
We all know just how stressful the school run can be between constant road works, bumper to bumper traffic and worries about being late but this doesn’t mean that the 20mph speed limit doesn’t apply. The slower you are driving, the quicker you will be able to react if a child runs out onto the road.
4. It’s cool to be bright!
The nights are already drawing in with it being dark now at 9pm so coming into the darker evenings and with most school uniforms being quite dark in colour, it’s important to encourage your children to wear some sort of visibility gear.
Tricky one to sell to the teens but it doesn’t have to be a full visibility jacket, ensuring the school bags/bikes have reflectors will help them be seen. You can get some pretty cool ones that are a little less obvious for those fashion minded kids on Amazon!
5. As a driver be prepared for anything
Ever heard the saying “I need eyes in the back of my head”? Extra vigilance in general during the school months will ensure both yourself, your family, pedestrians, other drivers and children are safe while they are using the roads.
Children can often walk to or from school alone or in groups. Some may be looking at their phones, flying around on scooters or are distracted chatting with their friends, so always be prepared for the unexpected.