Road safety is something we’re all taught from a very early age; ‘look left, look right, look left again’ - is drilled into us over and over. And a good thing too, child road accident fatalities were 50% lower in 2007 than they were on average between 1994 and 1998. That said given that over 3,000 children were killed or seriously injured on British roads in 2007 there’s still more that you, as a driver, can do…
You don’t need the Green Cross Code Man to tell you that children are particularly vulnerable to road traffic accidents. Now you’re out of the classroom and behind the wheel it’s important to remember that children may not always be aware of the dangers of the road. While you can’t prevent a child from running into the road, driving safely and keeping your car in good condition can help you to avoid an accident.
As a driver it’s good to be aware that weekdays at 8am and 3pm are the peak times for road accidents involving children, as this is when children are arriving at or leaving school. By understanding patterns such as this you should know to pay special attention to the roads, especially on dark winter evenings and in the vicinity of schools.
Secondary schools it seems are particularly dangerous spots for traffic accidents involving children. There is a noticeable increase in accidents involving children between the ages of 10 and 11, coinciding with the age at which children start secondary school; the 15 year old age group also has more casualties than any other age.
If you see school children, be sure to slow down and anticipate any sudden movements into the road. Research by ‘Think! Road Safety’ has found that 62% of teenagers admitted to being distracted by talking to friends while crossing the road. This means a child in a group is perhaps more likely to have an accident as they will probably be less aware of cars.
Obviously there is nothing that can prepare you for the trauma of accidentally hurting a child, should the worst happen. As well as struggling emotionally there may also be legal implications - having car insurance that you can rely on is never more important than in situations like this. Though an insurer could never remedy all the problems involved in an accident, they may be able to offer support financially.