Today’s roads are busier than they have ever been before, with the number of licensed vehicles in the UK increasing nearly every year since the early 1940s. As such, the roads are just as dangerous as they have ever been, and it’s more important than ever to ensure the younger ones in your family know how to navigate roads safely. Here are four basic safety tips to pass on to your children, to keep them safe when using or crossing roads.
Stop, Look and Cross
One of the most quintessential safety tips with regard to roads is how to cross them safely – a safety tip forever immortalised by the famous Think! hedgehog road safety campaign, “King of the Road”: Stop, Look, Listen, Live. Teach your children to always stop at the edge of the pavement before crossing a road, and to look in both directions – right, left and right again – before thinking about crossing. Teach them also to listen out for traffic, as blind corners and junctions could be hiding imminent vehicles. On the subject of crossing the road, make sure to tell your children to always use designated crossing points where possible – and if there is no designated crossing point, to use a stretch of pavement free of parked cars, so they can be sure to see the road well enough to know if a car is coming.
Wear Bright Colours
A crucial preventative measure when it comes to road safety is the employment of bright and visible clothing in darker times; in the depths of winter, when the days are short, even the end of the school day can be shrouded in darkness, making visibility paramount to alert your children’s presence to drivers. As such, it’s important to avoid your children dressing in black for evening walks. Instead, encourage them to choose bright coats and clothing – and if they are cycling home, encourage your children to wear a high-visibility jacket for extra safety on the road.
Know the Signals
There are many different rules and signals for drivers to follow in order to drive legally and safety – and while it might not be appropriate for your children to learn all of them, some teaching of the basics can help them understand road safety and etiquette. Introduce them to parts of the Highway Code, and explain how crossings work to them. Make sure they understand what each light in a traffic light means, and how it applies to pelican and puffin crossings.
Hold an Adult’s Hand Younger children should not be crossing any roads unsupervised, or without the assistance of an adult – they may need a little more time to develop before being able to fully understand the dangers a road can provide. As a parent, you should ensure any children below the age of 8 know to hold your hand at all times by the roadside, and especially when crossing; this way, there is no potential for them to run or fall into the road, or to cross dangerously while you wait at a puffin crossing.