This guest post from PassSmart, a UK-based website for learner drivers, covers some of the best ways to instill good road safety sense in your kids and help them stay safe on our roads.
Road safety is something that needs to be taught to children right from the word go, so that by the time they start school it is something that will be second nature to them. Good road sense and being safety savvy is very important, with statistics showing an alarming rate of young kids under the age of 16 dying on our roads every year. The worst part, in many cases, is that the tragedy could have been prevented with a few basic road safety rules.
Set a good example – kids learn from what they see. When you get to a pedestrian crossing always wait until the green man flashes indicating that you can cross and involve your child in the decision you make about when it is safe to cross, and help them understand why the red man says it is not safe to cross at that time.
Explain the rules of the road to your kids; talk about it all the time while you are walking down the road, so that they can see for themselves how things work. Talk to them about why the rules are in place, and how they can help you stay safe at all times if you abide by them. Talk about emergency scenarios, and ask your child how they would manage in a situation and what they could do to stay safe.
Teach them about driveways and hidden entrances so that they know that those areas need to be approached with a huge amount of caution every time, and that cars may not be able to see a small child as they are reversing out.
Teach them to cross at a visible section of the road at all times and explain to them how attempting to cross the road between parked cars is dangerous, as they are not going to be visible to anyone.
There are also some basic rules for you to follow that will instill a further sense of safety in younger children:
Always hold your child’s hand when you are walking anywhere: in a shopping centre, in a parking lot and, most importantly, on the road. It will become second nature for your child to slip their hand into yours and you will be able to know where they are, even if you get distracted or stop to talk to somebody.
Always walk on the outside, making sure that you are between your child and the road. Make it a habit and it will be impossible for your little one to drift over and start veering into the road or the gutter. Keep a safe distance from the road and try and keep away from the edge if possible: a cyclist can cause massive injuries if they veer from the road and you will be able to protect your child better if you are the buffer.