Giving children the freedom to walk to and from school or activities can build their confidence. It can also save you from having to drive them everywhere.
Because your children will walk near traffic, their understanding of traffic laws will play a substantial role in their ability to stay safe. Teaching them vigilance can encourage them to develop and observe responsible behaviors.
Anyone may feel tempted to do something risky if they do not have enough time. Talk with your children about where they plan to walk before they leave. Agree on a safe route with the least number of traffic crossings. For younger children, you may consider walking with them a few times to familiarize them with the route. For older children, encourage them to leave on time to avoid the stress of running late which may influence poor decision-making.
When your children have thought ahead of time about where they will walk, they can focus more of their attention on staying safe. They can anticipate certain intersections and which potential traffic hazards to watch for because they discussed it prior to leaving.
Driver distraction can impact pedestrian safety; however, distracted pedestrians can create additional dangers. According to safekids.org, warn your children of the dangers of using electronics while crossing a street. Talking with friends can also distract your children from seeing oncoming or turning vehicles. Teach your children to stay alert, use crosswalks and sidewalks, and make eye contact with drivers prior to crossing the road.
When your children carefully observe traffic signals and use their own vigilance to mitigate pedestrian hazards, they can enjoy a safe walk to their destination. If your children have received injuries as the result of an auto-pedestrian accident, you have the right to take legal action.