TORONTO, Aug. 26, 2010 – It’s back to school time and our roads will be busy again with school buses, a higher volume of children walking on the road and parents picking up and dropping off in school zones. Drivers need to be cautious and take extra care on the road. As drivers, we can affect pedestrian safety and reduce child pedestrian injury by how we act and react behind the wheel.
In Canada, more children acquire pedestrian-related injuries in the months of September and October and the most frequently reported child pedestrian action that results in injury or death is crossing at an intersection followed by running onto the road.
Young Drivers of Canada President Peter Christianson explains, “Younger children often lack the cognitive and physical skills to make safe decisions. In Canada, children aged 10 to 14 years have the highest incidence of pedestrian-related injuries, but a larger age range of children (5 to 14 years) are at the greatest risk for pedestrian-related fatalities. As drivers, we can predict and prevent these collisions by driving defensively.”
Drivers can use this road safety checklist to help navigate this busy back to school time on the road:
- Be aware of school zone signage
- Reduce speed in school zones
- Wait for children to complete their crossing before proceeding – (they often change their minds)
- Stop at least 20 meters behind a school bus when the upper red lights begin to flash and wait until the flashing stops
- Motorists traveling in both directions must stop for a school bus except if the road is divided by a median
- Be prepared!: school buses stop at all railway crossings and are required to open their door, but are not required to use the upper flashing red lights so there is not the usual warning
- If you are driving children to school, drop them off in a safe area away from traffic – most schools have designated drop off zones
- Change lanes early for bicycles (they should be treated as another vehicle by giving them ample space). Be vigilant many kids ride skateboards, scooters or roller blades on the road so be prepared for a possible fall by providing extra space.
- Use the ground viewing technique to scan under parked cars for the feet of children approaching traffic
- Always leave plenty of time to get to your destination – running late can cause aggressive driving behaviors
- Avoid driver distractions such as cell phones, eating or drinking, and personal grooming which take your focus off the road
For more information on driving tips visit the Young Drivers of Canada website at www.youngdrivers.com.
About Young Drivers of Canada
For more than 40 years, Young Drivers of Canada has been teaching Canadians how to drive and survive. We offer the most comprehensive driver training courses in the country, including exclusive YD-branded in-car emergency maneuvers training.