Whether you have a child just learning to bicycle or have a teen looking forward to their first summer with a driver’s license, at this time of year, it is important to sit your children down and talk truck safety. Trucks are actually more plentiful in the summer, when summer roadwork can mean more trucks and construction sites. Unfortunately, these sites can easily draw young children who are curious about the vehicles and road work or construction. To prevent the pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents that can be a very real risk when children play around trucks, make sure that you:
1) Teach your children to never play around trucks. It is useful to explain to children what the consequences of playing around trucks might be. However, it is also important to be specific. Explain how far children need to be away from trucks to be safe. When out with your children, point out a truck and ask your child to show you how far from the truck he or she should stand.
2) Teach your children to make eye contact with truck drivers. Practice making eye contact with truck drivers when out and about with your children and enforce the idea that truck drivers can only see a person when they make eye contact with that person. Truck drivers are less likely to see children, because children tend to be small. Make sure your children know how to make eye contact and walk safely around a truck.
3) Teach your younger children good bicycle safety. The better your children understand and follow bicycle safety rules, the less likely they are to be in a serious bicycle accident. Make sure you teach your children to wear helmets – which can reduce the risk of brain injuries dramatically – and to signal turns clearly. Truck drivers are more likely to see your child and drive safely around your child if your child knows the rules of the road.
4) Cover basic truck safety rules with your teens. Even if your teen has just had driver’s training, go over truck safety rules again. Truck accidents are more likely than car accidents to result in fatalities, so it is a good idea to discuss defensive driving as well as safety rules.
5) Practice what you preach. Your children will be more likely to practice good safety rules if they see you being safe, as well. There’s no point in telling your teen to not drive and text if you drive and text yourself. Allowing your children to see you following safety rules reinforces the idea that safety is the right choice.