Driving tips dur­ing school hol­i­days

The Herald (South Africa) - - WORLD OF WHEELS -

WITH the school hol­i­days now un­der way, mo­torists can ex­pect to see many more chil­dren walk­ing or rid­ing their bikes on the roads.

It is im­per­a­tive for mo­torists to drive more cau­tiously when shar­ing the road with chil­dren.

Ac­cord­ing to a study con­ducted in the US, chil­dren up to the age of 14 find it more dif­fi­cult to safely cross a road as their per­cep­tual judg­ment and fine motor skills are still devel­op­ing.

MasterDrive’s Eu­gene Herbert rec­om­mends in­creas­ing the space you leave around chil­dren and slow­ing down when you spot them on the roads.

“If a child mis­judges the dis­tance be­tween them­selves and you, and darts across the road in front of you, you will have more time to slow down and take eva­sive ac­tion,” Herbert said.

“For chil­dren rid­ing their bikes, leave a larger block of space around them when pass­ing to ac­count for rid­ers who may not be as con­fi­dent or for the greater chance of a young rider mak­ing a mistake.”

Driv­ers should also not take any risks when be­hind the wheel in res­i­den­tial areas where chil­dren are more likely to be.

“Pay ex­tra at­ten­tion when re­vers­ing out of your drive­way. Re­sist the urge to go faster than the speed limit in these areas. Go even slower when go­ing around cor­ners as this is where you may come across chil­dren un­ex­pect­edly.

“An­other in­stance where cau­tion is ad­vised is when go­ing around pub­lic trans­port. Even though the speed limit may be 60km/h, slow down to 30km/h to be pre­pared for chil­dren who may pop out from in front of a bus or taxi with­out warn­ing.

“Park­ing lots are an­other po­ten­tial haz­ard with chil­dren. They are more dif­fi­cult to see be­tween parked cars.

“Chil­dren may also per­ceive park­ing lots as less dan­ger­ous be­cause of lower speeds, but these areas are ac­tu­ally one of the most com­mon sites of ac­ci­dents.”

More chil­dren on the roads should also pro­vide more mo­ti­va­tion to avoid dis­tracted driving. A few sec­onds ad­just­ing your ra­dio or talk­ing on your phone is all it takes to miss a child on the side of the road who is about to run across.

Even as you wait at in­ter­sec­tions, be aware of chil­dren who may be try­ing to cross.

Do not re­move your at­ten­tion from the road for a sec­ond.

TIPS FOR THE PAR­ENTS

Where pos­si­ble do not let chil­dren walk or ride on busy roads

Dress them in bright or re­flec­tive cloth­ing Brush up on their road safety skills

Get off pub­lic trans­port with chil­dren in front of you

Al­ways en­cour­age chil­dren to be aware in park­ing lots and not to run in them

Teach them to be overly cau­tious when cross­ing roads.

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