TEACH YOUR KIDS A SAFER COM­MUTE TO SCHOOL

Road Today - - Road Safety -

Ev­ery Septem­ber brings text­books, home­work, new friends and…road rage? Par­ents with young chil­dren are re­port­ing an in­crease in un­safe driv­ing prac­tices in school zones, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey by CAA. The top two dan­ger­ous driv­ing be­hav­iours that mo­torists are guilty of in school zones are speed­ing and dis­tracted driv­ing.

While there are lots of things driv­ers can do to make morn­ings and af­ter school safer for stu­dents, it’s also im­por­tant to pre­pare your kids and arm them with advice to keep them safe. Here’s some in­for­ma­tion you can share with them to help cre­ate a safer com­mute.

Make time. If your kids are bik­ing, walk­ing or wheel­ing to school alone, help them get or­ga­nized the night be­fore and en­sure they have time in the morn­ing for a leisurely jour­ney. Rush­ing means mak­ing quick, and some­times po­ten­tially un­safe de­ci­sions.

Ask your kids for help. The num­ber one thing par­ents can do to be safer is give them­selves more time to drop off their kids — but they can’t do it alone. Ask your chil­dren to help you get them to school on time by pre­par­ing their back­packs the night be­fore, lend­ing a hand at break­fast and gen­er­ally sup­port­ing the goal of get­ting out the door sooner.

Get the right gear. If your kids walk to school, make sure they have com­fort­able shoes with good trac­tion. If they bike, a well-fit­ting helmet is a must, as is learn­ing your com­mu­nity’s by­laws for cy­clists. Also make sure your chil­dren know how to sig­nal their in­ten­tions for turn­ing and know to make eye con­tact with mo­torists when cross­ing.

Be a great bus pas­sen­ger.

Al­most a third of Cana­dian stu­dents ride a school bus or ve­hi­cle. They can help their bus driver give them a safer ride to school by be­ing on time for pick­ups, wait­ing in a safe place that’s well back from the edge of the road, cross­ing in front of the bus and never be­hind,keep­ing their voices down in the ve­hi­cle, and stay­ing seated fac­ing for­ward at all times. If driv­ing in a per­sonal or com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle, make sure the seat belts are work­ing and are be­ing worn.

Fol­low safety in­struc­tions. The CAA School Safety Pa­trol pro­gram has 70,000 stu­dent vol­un­teers across the coun­try who help en­sure their peers get to school safely. As one of the largest youth vol­un­teer pro­grams, they help play an im­por­tant role in school zone safety in many ar­eas of the coun­try. Keep a look­out for their bright safety vests.

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