Whether your child is walking to school, taking the bus, riding a bike or hitching a ride with you, safety is a discussion you can’t afford to skip.
Winston-Salem child injuries spike every fall around the start of the school year.
Delve deeper into some of the agency’s statistics, and you’ll learn that between 2002 and 2011, more child pedestrians were killed between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. and also between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. than at any other time of the day.
The reason the beginning of the school year is so treacherous has to do with the fact that we’re all suddenly on a learning curve. Children are learning their new routes. Road travel is boosted. Patterns of traffic shift. What was a routine commute for some drivers suddenly requires adjustment and heightened awareness.
You also have a lot of new drivers taking to the road during these hours, traveling back and forth to classes, after-school sports and maybe even part-time jobs. The novelty of being a driver hasn’t yet worn off, and there may even be some tendency to show off in front of peers. This can inevitably lead to tragedy.
Getting kids safely to and from school requires ample planning, discussion and possibly even intervention if unsafe conditions are identified.
If your child is riding the school bus, know that this is one of the safest modes of travel. Many bus-related accidents occur when children are either boarding or exiting. Make sure your child is aware and steers clear of the “danger zone” around the bus, which is 10 feet in front, behind and on either side. To put it in terms they may understand, instruct them to wait for the bus five giant steps from the road and not to board until the driver says it’s Ok. They should also wait for the go-ahead before getting off the bus.
If you’re child is a walker under the age of 10, make sure he or she is accompanied by either an adult or older teen. Sidewalks are safest, but if none is available, instruct your child to walk facing traffic. Make sure they know not to push or shove other people when they’re walking alongside the road. Practice crossing the street with them, being careful to teach them how to look left-right-left for cars and to always use a designated crosswalk whenever possible.
Kids who are taking a bicycle should have a fitted helmet and a solid grasp of traffic rules. Make sure they also know never to ride while using head phones or cell phones. Such distractions can be just as dangerous for cyclists as they can for drivers.
And lastly, if you drive your child to school, make sure he or she is always riding in the back seat. The NHTSA notes that kids are 40 percent more likely to be hurt in a crash. If your teen is the one driving, make sure he or she has taken the appropriate safety courses, is properly licensed, isn’t riding with a car load of other teens and knows the importance of reducing distractions.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.
Back to School Safety Advisory: NHTSA Offers Tips to Keep Kids Safe, Sept. 4, 2013, Press Release, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
More Blog Entries:
Back to School Traffic Safety in the Carolinas, Aug. 27, 2013, Winston-Salem Car Accident Lawyer Blog