The phrase “look both ways before crossing the street” is likely so ingrained into your mind that you’re not even sure when you learned it. Pedestrian safety is something that most adults seem to understand instinctively. However, it’s not something that your kids are going to understand unless you teach it to them. Though you may not remember it, the basics of pedestrian safety were taught to you, and it’s time for you to pass that knowledge on. If you’re not sure how to help your kids fully understand the importance of pedestrian safety, here are some tips. And if you or your family members are ever involved in apedestrian accident in Bradenton, FL, give us a call.
First, it’s important that you start teaching your children these lessons from a very young age. From the time that they’re old enough to walk independently, they need to understand that they have to be wary of any areas where cars may be driving. They should know that they cannot cross the street without an adult to escort them (preferably while holding their hand). The same should apply to parking lots.
You can also teach them to be wary when playing in the driveway, to always keep an eye out for cars pulling in or out, and to get completely out of the driveway and onto the grass or sidewalk if a car is approaching. These are all concepts they can apply later, when they’re old enough to cross the street by themselves.
Teach Defensive Walking
When you were learning to drive, you probably heard the phrase “defensive driving.” This, at its core, meant being aware of all the other drivers around you and being prepared for what they might do next. The same concepts can be applied to teaching your children proper pedestrian safety.
They should first learn to be aware of any cars in their vicinity—that basic concept of looking both ways before crossing the street, as well as watching for cars backing out of parking spots, and so on. Then, they must learn to never assume that a nearby driver is aware of them. If your child spots a car coming down the street and thinks that the driver saw them preparing to cross, they may decide to run out into the road. Teach your children to always wait until a driver has made eye contact with and acknowledged them, or until the car has come to a complete stop before they cross the street.
Teach the Rules of Crossing
It’s also your job as a parent to teach your kids the actual laws that pertain to crossing the street. Encourage them to only cross at a marked crosswalk, if one is available. Help them understand when and where they have the legal right of way.
However, they should also understand that cars won’t always yield, even when they should. This is where those “defensive walking” techniques come in. Regardless of whether they have the right of way or not, help your child to understand that common sense is the best way to keep themselves safe.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
As with any lesson, your children aren’t going to fully understand pedestrian safety with just one discussion. This is something you must talk to them about and demonstrate on a regular basis. Always be a good example of pedestrian safety yourself, and provide verbal reminders every time your child is crossing any street with you.
If you’re ever involved in an accident of any kind—either as a pedestrian or a driver—contact Erjavec Injury Law to speak to an experienced auto and motorcycle accident lawyer in Bradenton, FL.