As kids head on back to school next week we want parents to take the time to check they’re up to speed with road safety.
“The summer holidays are long and that means some children might have forgotten some of the basic rules they need to follow to keep themselves safe,” says Inspector Peter McKennie, Manager of Operations for Road Policing.
“Add to that their excitement about returning to school and seeing their friends and this can mean they will be less alert to the traffic dangers around them.”
Police are asking parents to sit down with their kids before the end of the holidays and have a conversation around road safety rules. This is particularly important if your child is going to be travelling to school on their own.
“Help them to choose the safest route to get there and do a few practise walks or bikes with them so they are familiar with the route and the safest places to cross,” says Inspector McKennie.
“It is important to remind them that any time they are crossing the road they must stop, look, and listen for any cars, bikes, or cyclists before they step out.”
Police are also urging parents to remember that your kids will follow your actions.
“If you break the rules – kids will think it is ok to as well and that can put lives in danger. For that reason we need parents to stick to the road rules.
“Try parking a bit further away from school and walking if there aren’t any free parks close by, make sure you don’t park on yellow lines.
“For motorists in general, remember to keep your speed down and be extra alert in case a child runs or bikes in front of you without warning. Even small increases in speed result in a much greater increase in your stopping distance, and that can mean the difference between life and death for pedestrians, so it's vital you slow down around schools.
“Children make mistakes, but they don't deserve to pay for them with their life. How you drive makes the difference,” says Inspector McKennie.
Other safety tips for walking or biking to school include:
·Young children should be accompanied by an adult or older child.
·Use pedestrian crossings or cross at traffic signals, wherever possible.
·Teach your children to follow the instructions of School Patrols and School Wardens.
·If there are no crossings or traffic signals, talk about and show your child how to find a safe place to cross, and to always use the kerb drill.
·Try a walking bus, where children walk to school in an organised group. Talk to your school. They may have walking buses.
·For more information, see NZTA’s whānau and caregivers guide to safer journeys for children: Hike it, Bike it, Scoot it, Skate it.
Issued by the Police Media Centre