As students are getting ready to head back to school, it’s a great time for parents to review school safety rules, especially if your children will be walking to school each day. Many Florida pedestrian accidents take place during the walk to and from school. In some cases, students get excited or distracted by school or friends and make errors which lead to an accident. In many cases, as well, the times when students are walking to school coincide with rush hour traffic in Hollywood, Miami, and other major Florida cities. All of this can make it more likely that students are at risk of being involved in a Florida car accident or pedestrian accident.
Now is a great time to review safety procedures for walking to and from school:
1) Set up a walking system for younger children. Younger children can walk to school with older students attending the same school. This offers additional supervision and ensures that children will not be walking without some help. This is especially important for younger children, who may not be used to crossing the street alone.
2) Review the school route. Even with older children, take a long walk to school from your home. This gives you a sense of how distracted your children are when walking to school and allows you to gauge how safe or unsafe the school route is. Busy intersections, secluded areas, and poorly-designed crosswalks are all danger areas. You may want to develop a new route together or go over some safety rules for the more dangerous areas.
3) Set up a “no distraction” rule. Distracted walking can be as dangerous as distracted driving. Encourage your children to avoid texting, talking on their cell phone, or listening to music when walking to school. If they are distracted, students are less likely to see and anticipate possible problems on the road, making them more at risk.
4) Make sure visibility is good. Make sure that students can see around them. Avoid having your children walk through parking lots or areas with lots of street traffic, as trying to cross these areas blocks off their view of oncoming traffic. Also, ensure that your child’s back to school wardrobe does not hamper mobility or visibility. Large hats, hoodies, dark glasses, and other clothing items can affect visibility.
5) Go over your child’s schedule for the upcoming year and arrange a ride or drive for late-night school activities. Walking home in the dark means even worse visibility as well as a host of new dangers. If your child must walk home after dark, at least ensure that he or she walks with a group of friends and is visible to motorists.