Fresh haircuts, new clothes and backpacks stuffed with supplies are not the only things a child needs to start the new school year.
As millions of California students return to school in the next couple of weeks, traffic safety should also be on everyone’s back-to-school list.
Parents, students and community members can all take action to prevent tragic accidents and keep children safe on our roadways.
The Dangers Children Face
The greatest threat that children face today as they head back to school is car accidents. They are in danger when they walk, bike or travel as passengers in vehicles. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages three and older.
The problem of course escalates during the months kids are in school.
Children are vulnerable and more exposed to traffic dangers for many reasons. They are small and less visible to drivers.
Children often find it more difficult to judge traffic situations because their peripheral vision is one-third narrower than an adult’s. Children can also be easily distracted, especially when they are around other kids.
Tips for Traffic Safety
There are a number of things we can do as drivers to ensure that school time is safe for our young people. First, slow down in school zones and residential areas.
Drive with your headlights on even during the day so that children and other drivers can see you. Look for clues such as crossing guards or school patrol officials, which could all be indications that there are kids in the area.
Scan between parked cars and other objects for children. Be even more cautious in bad weather. Always stop for school buses that are loading or unloading students.
Always yield to pedestrians in a marked or unmarked crosswalk. It is always a good idea to yield to pedestrians even when they are not in a crosswalk.
Teach your child safe walking and bicycling habits such as crossing the street only in a crosswalk. Do not let young children ride the bike to school. If your child is riding the bicycle, be sure that he or she is wearing a well-fitted helmet.
Teach your children to look both ways before crossing the street and never to run into the roadway. Make sure you walk young children to school. It is safer for older children to walk in groups.
If your child has been injured in a car accident, please contact an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer for more information regarding pursuing your legal rights.