A Guide to Teaching Children Traffic & Road Safety

A Guide to Teaching Children Traffic & Road Safety

Not all drivers give 100% of their attention to the road. Sometimes, they may be preoccupied by activities like singing along to the radio or talking on the phone. Sending a text message requires drivers to take their eyes off the road for multiple seconds, which can mean a driver will drive the length of a football field without paying attention. Checking directions may also lead a driver to avert their focus. In total, distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2019. Adults with young children need to practice awareness measures to avoid drivers who aren’t completely aware of their surroundings. When your own children are in the car, it’s important to minimize their temper tantrums and general discomfort. Adults can plan ahead by keeping their children occupied with books or movies. In the worst case scenario, it’s best to pull over to attend to a child’s needs rather than dealing with an issue while trying to stay concentrated on the road.

Road rage leads to aggressive driving behaviors which can put other drivers, pedestrians and kids at risk. Aggressive drivers may disobey traffic signs, fail to observe safety zone laws or drive over the speed limit. Other typical behaviors include changing lanes frequently or yelling at other drivers. Often, drivers resort to such aggressive driving habits when faced with traffic congestion beyond their control. You can avoid potentially dangerous situations by letting aggressive drivers pass, leaving sufficient space between yourself and a speeding driver, and driving defensively. In some situations, you may even want to call the police and alert them to an extremely reckless driver. Remember, adults who exhibit aggressive driving behavior in front of children can impact their kids’ habits and manners and influence how they drive in the future. To foster good driving values, keep calm and drive courteously.

Road and traffic safety should be revisited and taught to children as they grow up. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to incorporate safety lessons in daily life and make learning fun. Depending on a child’s age, you may want to adapt differing lessons and practices. Those under the age of five can be taught the basics of traffic awareness and school-age children can be shown how to start becoming aware of cars. Those above the age of nine can be taught how to walk alone on sidewalks and make safer choices while bicycling or doing other activities near a road.

Toddlers, or those aged three and under, are too young to truly understand the risk and danger that comes with being on or near the road. Kids in this age group are often the ones who end up running into the road to chase a toy or following something that has caught their attention without looking both ways on a street. To mitigate the risk, toddlers should be taught the basics of road safety. One of the most important lessons to impart is to never to be near a road without an adult holding their hand. Kids below the age of three should also begin having an awareness and understanding of where the sidewalk ends and the road begins. Knowing the difference between roads, sidewalks, crosswalks and driveways can significantly reduce the likelihood of accidents. Speaking sternly to emphasize danger may be effective. But it’s easy to make safety lessons into a game, as well. For instance, adults can teach toddlers how to press the pedestrian crossing button and count how many seconds it takes for the “green man” to appear. Alternatively, playing a quick round of “I Spy” and describing sidewalks or traffic lights in easy-to-understand terms can help toddlers begin to identify such spots quickly.

Children between the ages of three and five should always be accompanied by an adult. At those ages, kids are also able to recognize road signs, such as the hexagonal STOP sign, the basic “stop, look and listen” rule, and colors such as green, yellow and red. Be creative by making stories out of road signs and helping kids understand what the traffic lights or “robots” are signaling. Preschoolers are not yet equipped to cross the street alone, but they are easily influenced by those around them and can be taught how to walk on sidewalks furthest away from traffic. The best way to teach road safety skills is through demonstration. Exhibit good behaviors by wearing a seatbelt, obeying road rules and always looking both ways before crossing a road. Children will be likely to imitate safe routines.

At school age, or between five and eight, it’s still important that children are accompanied or at least supervised by an adult while on the road — even if only traveling a short distance from a bus stop to a house. However, they can learn and begin to remember safer paths and lead the way without always holding an adult’s hand. To start, teach children about safe places to cross the road, such as crosswalks, underpasses or footbridges. They should also learn how to identify crossing-patrol authorities and be able to read certain traffic signs. Ask simple questions to see if children have a firm grasp of basic concepts. For example: What does the red light mean at a crosswalk? What should be done before crossing the road? Are there any shortcuts a child can take when walking around the neighborhood to avoid roads all together?

Children who are nine to 12 can learn with increasing frankness about the dangers of the road, but it is important not to overload them with information they can’t handle. Around this age, it may be time to consider whether a child can walk independently, although an evaluation often depends on a kid’s individual level of development and the risk of serious danger around the area. Kids who understand and practice pedestrian road safety rules may be ready. Otherwise, they may need more supervision. Parents can make a determination by letting a child take the lead when walking to school to see if they know how to cross streets and navigate to their destination. They can also be quizzed about common landmarks and road signs seen along the way.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children aged 12 and younger. To minimize the risk of accidents, adults must drive defensively and take basic steps such as using seat belts, avoiding drunk driving and speeding, pulling over when tired and obeying the law. Road safety is a skill that needs to be continuously demonstrated and employed. Below are a few tips to remember.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children aged 12 and younger.

Practicing safe and defensive driving can protect the people around you while also ensuring you maintain a clean driving record. Having no violations on your record not only makes you a good role model for children, but it can even help you further by lowering your auto insurance costs. Below are a few additional benefits.

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