Every day, more than 40 kids are hit by cars and injured walking to school, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. When mornings and nights get darker in the fall and winter, the route to school may become increasingly dangerous.
Students are safer on the school bus than at the bus stop or walking to get to it. In Georgia, students face many hazards getting to school. Often rural areas lack sidewalks or there are too few crosswalks in a city. They may be distracted by a computer game or not paying attention.
Here are five tips on walking safely to school in Georgia.
1 Walk on the sidewalk if one is available. In areas with no sidewalk, you should walk on the shoulder of the road. Walk as close to the edge of the road as possible. If there is no sidewalk, and no shoulder on the highway, walk as near as practical on the outside edge of the roadway. On a two-way road, you should walk facing oncoming traffic. Georgia law also requires a person on the road to yield the right of way to all cars on the road. Drivers should exercise care and honk their horns to make pedestrians aware of their presence.
2 Don’t be distracted. Parents should not allow their children to be on electronic devices as they walk to school and back. Distracted walking is a major cause of inattention, injury, and death, particularly in younger people.
3 Have a predetermined route. Parents should work out the safest route to and from school in advance with their children. It should maximize the use of sidewalks and crosswalks and be the most direct route. Students should go directly to the school or the bus stop and not visit homes, stores or other distractions on the way.
4 Have a safety code at the school bus stop. Students should abide by a set of safety rules at the school bus stop. They should stand at least 6 feet away from the curb when the bus approaches, and keep in an orderly line away from the street. They should not approach the bus until the driver asks them to do so. Never walk behind a school bus.
5 Be seen. It’s important for students to be seen on their route to school, especially during the winter. In rain and dark conditions, it may be difficult for drivers to make out small children. Parents should ensure their children are wearing bright clothing or have reflective strips on their clothes or backpacks. Children who cycle to school should have lights on their bicycles and wear helmets.
Be safe walking to school. Urban areas like Atlanta see about 70 crashes involving vehicles and pedestrians or cyclists every month.
Make sure your kids are walking safely to school and don’t become a statistic. If your student is hurt due to the fault of a driver, please call the Law Office of Michael West at (404) 913-1529.