Road Safety Recommendations for Schools - Teachers and caretakers play a central role in educating children about traffic and road safety!
Children are the most vulnerable traffic participants
Children are considered the most vulnerable participants in traffic, because up to the age of approximately ten years they often do not yet have the physical and cognitive skills) to make safe judgments and choices of their own about traffic. In Iran among all unintentional fatal injuries inflicted on children under five years of age, traffic-related fatalities are the leading cause of death. Road crashes are also the highest cause of injuries among children aged 10-19 years old.
Protective Passenger Behaviours
Children under the age of 8 must be secured in an appropriate child restraint system, more commonly called a safety seat. Child seats, if used correctly, reduce the death rate in car accidents by 71 per cent among infants and by 54 per cent among young children.
Children at the age of 8 and above should wear a seat belt all the time when riding in a car. Seat belts have saved more lives in accidents than any other road safety measures. Wearing a seatbelt belt reduces the risk of bring ejected from a vehicle and suffering serious or fatal injury by 40-65 per cent.
To reduce the risk to child passengers, classroom education should focus on children:
· ALWAYS wearing a correctly fitted and adjusted seat restraint
· ALWAYS sitting in the rear seat of a vehicle
· ALWAYS using the safety door to enter and exit the vehicle. This door is the rear door closest to the kerb
· NEVER to distract the driver or other passengers
· keep all body parts within the vehicle, whether it moves or not
· ALWAYS acting under adult supervision when entering and exiting a vehicle, and while in places such as car parks
Child pedestrians are at risk because they have:
• developing peripheral vision
Children are less likely to notice objects not directly in front of them as their peripheral vision is still developing (it is one-third of an adult’s field of vision). Unless they turn their heads, they may not notice vehicles to their right or left.
• developing directional hearing
Children may often have problems working out where sounds are coming from and may expect traffic to come from the wrong direction.
• a smaller stature
Because of their size it is often difficult for drivers to see children, especially when standing between parked cars.
• limited sense of perception
Children have trouble judging how fast a vehicle is coming towards them or just how far away a vehicle is. They may let a slow vehicle pass and then cross in front of a fast one.
• poor search behaviour and do not take sufficient time to look when crossing the road
Children like to keep moving! As a result they may not wait for stop lights to change, for cars to stop at crosswalks or give enough time to complete a thorough search procedure before they step out onto the road.
• unpredictable behaviour, and do not consider the consequences of their actions
Children often have trouble stopping at the kerb especially if they are excited or are chasing a ball, and may dart out onto the road without thinking.
• a tendency to be easily distracted
Children tend to focus only on the things that interest them most. They are easily distracted in the company of friends and cannot be relied upon to use safe behaviour consistently.
• limited ability to respond quickly to a sudden change in traffic conditions
They may be able to say when the road is clear and safe to cross but a sudden change in traffic conditions can cause confusion and panic.
• difficulty seeing a situation from another’s viewpoint
Children often think that if they can see a car approaching them that the driver must be able to see them too.
• an unwillingness to change from a direct route even if it is dangerous.
Children may also be at risk because of their:
· lack of knowledge and skills to deal safely with the traffic environment
· responsiveness to peer pressure
· propensity to take risks
· parents or other adults over-estimating their ability
Protective pedestrian behaviours
To reduce the risk to child pedestrians, classroom education should focus on children:
Always follow these steps when crossing a road:
Step 1 Choose the safest place to cross.
Step 2 Ask an adult for help to cross the road where possible.
Step 3 Stop back from the kerb and road.
Step 4 Look in all directions for traffic.
Step 5 Listen for traffic.
Step 6 Think about when it is safe to cross.
Step 7 When the road is clear or all traffic has come to a complete standstill, walk straight and quickly across the road.
Step 8 Keep checking the road by looking, listening and thinking about the traffic while crossing.
Where are safer places to cross?
Children have difficulty identifying and selecting places to cross the road safely.
They tend to assume that all places are safe as long as no vehicles are visible
It is important that children use a pedestrian facility when there is one available, even if it means walking some extra distance. If a pedestrian facility is not available,
encourage children to cross where they have a clear view of traffic in every direction and drivers can see them waiting to cross.
Crossing at traffic lights
It is safer to follow the steps described previously when the green ‘walk’’ figure is illuminated. However, children should be reminded not to presume that traffic will stop and to check the traffic before stepping onto the road.
Crossing between parked cars
It is dangerous for children to cross between parked cars, however when this is the only choice they should be taught to:
· select a gap between two cars which have no drivers.
· make sure the gap is not big enough for a car to park.
· walk to the outside corner of the car and stop where drivers can see the pedestrian and the pedestrian can see the traffic (i.e. in line with the outside edge of the cars).
· Follow the steps described above to cross the road.
In a car park
A car park can be a dangerous place for pedestrians as drivers are usually
focused on driving into or out of parking bays and may not see pedestrians,
especially children. Children should:
· stay close to an adult whenever possible.
· select the safest route (e.g. using footpaths, crosswalks, pedestrian phase lights).
· be aware of sights (e.g. exhaust smoke, reversing lights) and sounds (beepers, slamming doors).
· look and listen for vehicles driving in and out of parking bays.
Walking where there is no footpath
When a footpath is not available, pedestrians should:
· walk on the road verge as far away from the road as possible
· walk on the edge of the road if no verge is accessible and face oncoming traffic
· move off the road edge until the oncoming vehicle has passed.
Boarding a School Bus
Pedestrians waiting to board a school bus should stay on the footpath or road
verge until the bus has stopped.
Crossing after a school bus has left
Pedestrians should wait until the bus has moved away and the road is clear before crossing.
Why are children riding bicycles and wheeled recreational devices at
Children derive great enjoyment and satisfaction from cycling and using other wheeled recreational devices such as scooters, skateboards and roller blades. It gives them a sense of pride and achievement when they become proficient in their skills. Children under ten years of age generally have not developed the necessary cycling and traffic skills to safely ride in traffic. They need to be closely supervised by an adult at all times. They are also at risk because they:
· may not have the necessary physical skills to handle a bicycle
· lack knowledge and skills to deal with the traffic environment
· do not always think about the consequences of their actions
· have not developed an effective search behaviour and may not look for long enough when scanning traffic
· give in to peer pressure to act unsafely
· over-estimate their ability
Protective Riding Behaviours
To reduce the risk to child riders, classroom education should focus on children:
· avoiding roadways or other areas that are used by motor vehicles
· wearing an approved helmet at all times
· avoiding large hills, kerbs, cobblestones, grates and other rough or discontinuous surfaces
· never riding with more than one person on a bicycle or scooter
· before each use, checking that there are no loose or missing parts.
Courtesy on shared paths and footpaths
When riding on paths there are rules that need to be followed:
· keep to the right of the path
· don’t ride too fast or do anything unexpected
· use a bell when approaching others
· give way to pedestrians
· obey signs along the path
· ride in single file.
How can young riders reduce the risk?
Studies have shown that bicycle helmet use decreases the risk of head injury by
85% and brain injury by 88%. The protective effects of helmets during a crash or fall are increased by:
· the helmet being properly worn (sitting at the front of the head)
· the retention straps being tight and fastened. This prevents the helmet from moving or coming off and the risk of head injury being reduced during a crash
· the helmet being fitted properly. Improperly fitted helmets can double the risk of head injury.
Children and Motorbikes – unsafe at any speed
In Iran, 25 per cent of all road fatalities are those involving motorbikes. Over 60 per cent of those occur because the drivers did not wear a helmet and incurred head traumas.
Motorbikes are not for Children under 12!
It is inadvisable to have a child younger than 12 years old as a passenger on a motorcycle, since they do not have the size, stamina, strength, attention span, or knowledge of traffic to ride along safely. According to safety experts, any motorbike passengers should be physically able to sit on the passenger seat of the bike and have their feet planted securely on both foot pegs and hold on to the bike passenger strap or rider and must be able to and must wear a helmet.
Helmet saves life!
Wearing an age-appropriate helmet is the single most effective way of reducing head injuries and fatalities resulting from motorcycle crashes. Children who are of an appropriate age to ride on a motorcycle should be encouraged to always refuse to ride on a motorbike without a helmet.
Steps to improving road safety around your school
The following step-by-step list is a quick reference guide for teachers, parents and
students to plan for improving road safety around schools.
Step 1: Form a School Road Safety Committee
Step 2: Conduct a School Road Safety Survey and collate data (or collect other
information to determine road safety problems around the school)
Step 3: Develop an Action Plan
Firstly consider a range of education and encouragement strategies such as classroom and at home activities, developing a Road Safety and Traffic Guide, developing a Student Road Safety Committee and safer pedestrian and cyclist programs. Secondly, consider a range of engineering strategies relating to traffic speed, parking and road crossing.
Step 4: Implement Action Plan
Step 5: Review progress of Action Plan – by checking if the planned strategies in the
‘By when?’ column of the Action Plan have been implemented; reflecting on success
of strategies to address the issues identified.
Step 6: Maintenance – Monitor your progress and modify strategies, building on your successes and identifying and implementing ways to improve others. Continue to promote your school road safety practices and address other issues as they arise.