Schools everywhere are gearing up to begin the new year, so it's time to go over pedestrian safety with your kids again.
Even if you've had this conversation before, the start of the school year is a good time to remind your children that pedestrians face some serious dangers from drivers who may be more focused on their morning coffee than their commute.
Here are the top things your children need to remember when walking:
1. Use crosswalks.
Remind your children that crosswalks are meant to be used -- and not just the ones with crossing guards in them. Jaywalking puts your children in unnecessary danger because even cautious drivers aren't expecting to see anyone dart suddenly across the road where there's no crosswalk.
2. Wear reflective clothing.
The days are getting increasingly shorter from the start of the school year until December, which means that a lot of young people will start their morning walk in the dark before long. Make sure that your children have flashlights or reflective clothing (or both) when they head out the door. Reflective gear helps give drivers and early alert to a pedestrian's presence near the road.
3. Avoid distracted walking.
Encourage your kids to stay alert on their walks and enjoy the scenery -- not get lost in their smartphones. Listening to music or playing on a phone can make a daily walk more entertaining, but also more dangerous. Pedestrians have to be conscious of their environment at all times for maximum safety.
4. Don't tempt fate.
Even though drivers are supposed to stop for a pedestrian at all times, no one should ever count on that happening. It's advisable to always use sidewalks whenever possible, face traffic as you walk and stay focused on the cars that are passing. You can't count on drivers to notice a pedestrian in time to stop.
Car accidents involving pedestrians claim a life every two hours in the United States. Therefore, it's important to keep reminding your children about their safety throughout the year.