Studies indicate that 85% of parents believe that the best way to teach young kids about road safety is to employ role models. These are positive-minded individuals who exhibit excellent road safety behaviors that young children can learn from. In many cases, this responsibility falls on parents or guardians. Therefore, if you have young kids and want to keep them safe, perhaps now would be a good time to teach them something about road safety.
- Get off only on the car’s safer side
Kids usually do not know which side of the car is safer to use when getting off. This is why, in some cases, unguarded children will open the car door closest to the street and not the one closer to the footpath or pavement. Your responsibility is to help kids understand that other vehicles coming from behind will maneuver around it and drive away when a car stops. Because the maneuver from behind is usually done with a fair amount of speed, an open car door ahead can increase the risk of an accident.
When you teach your child this safety tip with a basic explanation on why it is so, they will understand and hopefully adhere to the rule. Indeed, there can be moments of forgetfulness when a child may open the car door on the busy side of the street. To avoid this, your role as a parent is to continue giving reminders until the message sinks deeper. As an added safety measure, and if you’re looking to change your car anytime soon, consider getting a vehicle with an open door alarm to alert you. You can review your next car’s specifications on sites such as Edmunds to ensure that it comes with everything you need.
- No playing on the sides of busy neighborhood streets
Some neighborhoods are designed to allow kids to walk, ride bikes or play on or along pathways. However, these narrow stretches also act as driveways for vehicles in certain places. To avoid the complexities, you are better off advising your children to avoid playing in these areas. Apart from the risky nature of these neighborhood driveways, the presence of kids in these places can distract drivers and riders. The secret to getting your kids to follow this road safety rule is to explain what could happen if they do.
As a parent, you probably know that kids will demand an explanation for why they have been asked to avoid something. Your kids’ constant and repetitive ‘whys’ indicate their dissatisfaction with a deterrent you issued without supporting statements. Therefore, instead of saying, ‘do not play on the sides of the neighborhood road,’ you can instead replace it with something along the lines of, ‘there are moving cars on that busy stretch, so playing there can be dangerous.’ That can be enough to motivate your kids to obey the rule.
- Always walk on the pavement even when the road is empty
Pavements are meant for pedestrians to walk safely and away from moving vehicles. However, when they are empty, cyclists sometimes use these sidewalks. As with other road safety rules, it is vital to teach your kids that pavements are for pedestrians only and not for bicycle riding. That way, when they are riding bikes in the neighborhoods, your kids will remember to avoid using the pavement.
In another breath, they will also remember to walk as pedestrians on pavements, whether or not the road is busy. Children learn through what they see. Therefore, you are the first and ideal role model they will pick pointers from.