Children in northern California are headed back to school (or may even already be there). Back to school means that more children may be walking to and from their school than you encountered during the summer months.
It’s especially important to drive safely whenever you see children walking, because kids may have more of a propensity to dart in front of a moving car than adults. As the school year starts, they may also be chatting animatedly with new friends or even showing off – increasing the risk that they are not paying attention to traffic.
Nearly 6,000 Americans of all ages were killed in pedestrian accidents in the last year for which statistics are available – and children under 15 years old accounted for 20% of those deaths, making them one of the highest-risk groups, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Please follow these safety tips recommended by the National Safety Council.
- Slow down whenever you see children walking.
- Stop at a crosswalk when people are using it or about to use it.
- Stop for a crossing guard or safety officer holding up a yield or stop sign.
- Yield at school zones when flashers are blinking.
- Stop for school buses discharging passengers after school or picking up passengers before school.
- If you are coming to a stop don’t block an intersection or crosswalk. That can cause pedestrians to walk around your car, putting them in danger of being hit by other cars.
- Don’t ever pass a vehicle that has stopped for pedestrians.
- Never honk or gun your engine at a pedestrian. It can scare pedestrians into making unsafe moves, especially young children.
- Always yield to pedestrians, no matter who has the right of way.
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