Driver vigilance even more important in summer

NANAIMO – ICBC asks drivers and parents to help keep kids safe on roads during the summer months.

No more pencils, no more books …

School is out for summer and it’s an exciting time for children and many are looking forward to spending more time outdoors.

So ICBC is asking drivers and parents to help keep kids safe on the roads during the summer months.

In 2012, 48 child pedestrians (ages five to 12) were injured in 47 incidents.

“We want kids to enjoy their summer which is why we’re asking drivers to slow down and watch out for them, especially around parks and playgrounds,” said John Dickinson, ICBC’s director of road safety. “Parents should also take this opportunity to review the rules of the road with their children to help keep them safe.”

Tips for drivers

It’s all mixed up – During the last few days of school, students may be arriving or leaving school at varying times throughout the day. When school is in session, a 30-km/h school zone speed limit is in effect between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. During the summer months, speed limits in school zones are only in effect if summer school is in session, but kids often still play around these areas, so drive cautiously at all times.

Kids all around –Drivers aren’t used to seeing crowded playgrounds and parks during the day but this all changes in summer. Remember playground speed limits (30 km/h) remain in effect year-round. When driving around playgrounds and parks, observe carefully. Small children are less predictable and harder to see than adults.

Watch for clues – In residential areas, a hockey net or ball can mean that children are playing nearby. Remember that a child could dash into the street at any moment. Pay attention and always anticipate the unexpected.

Tips for parents to share with children

Be a role model –Parents are the No. 1 role model for their children so make sure to set a good example when teaching them about pedestrian safety. If a child sees a parent jaywalking, they will think it is okay to do and will do the same thing. Make sure to teach a child to cross at intersections that have a pedestrian crossing light or a marked crosswalk whenever possible.

Make it fun – Make road safety teaching fun while still treating it as a serious issue. For younger children, try an interactive game by having them point out all the traffic signs they see and ask if they know what they mean. For older children, remind them to put away their phones and remove their headphones when crossing the road.

Focus on the basics – Kids will digest information about serious issues when it’s kept simple and relevant. Therefore, begin pedestrian safety lessons with the key basics that you learned as a kid, which are still relevant today.

A great example is how to cross at intersections: Stop – Before crossing, always stop at the curb. Make sure all vehicles have stopped; Look – Look left and right for oncoming vehicles. Then look again over shoulders for vehicles that might be turning. Teach kids to keep looking for approaching vehicles as they cross; Listen – Listen for approaching traffic that you can’t yet see; Make eye contact – Even if the walk signal is on, teach children to make eye contact with drivers before they cross; Walk – Teach children to walk, never run, when crossing a road.

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