Every fall, over 55 million children across the United States
head back to school. With 13 percent of those children typically walking or
biking to their classes, be especially vigilant for pedestrians before and
after school hours. The afternoon hours are particularly dangerous – over the
last decade, nearly one in four child pedestrian fatalities occurred between 3
p.m. and 7 p.m.
Here are some recommendations regarding ways drivers
can help to keep kids safe:
1.Slow down. Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a
reason. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly
two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a
vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
2.Come to a complete stop. Research shows that more than
one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods.
Always come to a complete stop, checking carefully for children on sidewalks
and in crosswalks before proceeding.
3.Eliminate distractions. Research shows that taking your eyes
off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing. And
children can be quick, crossing the road unexpectedly or emerging suddenly
between two parked cars.
4.Reverse responsibly. Every vehicle has blind spots. Check for
children on the sidewalk, in the driveway and around your vehicle before slowly
5.Watch for bicycles. Children on bikes are often inexperienced,
unsteady and unpredictable. Slow down and allow at least three feet of passing
distance between your vehicle and a bicyclist.
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