Pedestrian Safety Tips for Upcoming Return to School

With the upcoming school year just around the corner, prioritizing pedestrian safety is critical. Between 2011 and 2020, there were 1,009 fatal -school-transport-related accidents, with 24% of all pedestrians killed in the accidents between 5 and 10 years old.

As the streets become busier with increased pedestrian activity, it becomes even more important to equip children with the necessary knowledge and practices to minimize risks.

Unfortunately, accidents can happen even when pedestrians are careful on the road. If you or your child has been injured in an auto accident in St. Louis, an experienced attorney can help you file a claim to receive compensation.

Follow our safety tips for staying safe as a pedestrian this school year: 

Wear Bright Colors

To improve safety and reduce accidents in low visibility conditions, ensure your child wears bright clothing when walking to school, especially in Missouri’s foggy or rainy weather. Encourage them to choose bright colors, like orange, yellow, or pink, or reflective clothing with features like sequins, glitter, or holographic tape, that makes them more noticeable to drivers.

Consider adding reflective elements like tape or stickers to their backpack or clothing for added visibility, especially during the early morning or dusk hours during Missouri’s long winters.

Use Crosswalks and School Zones

Teach children the importance of using designated crosswalks and pedestrian crossings. In Missouri, drivers are legally obligated to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians within marked crosswalks, as stated by Missouri law 300.375.

Reinforce this rule by providing practical examples that showcase well-marked crosswalks. Show children the correct behavior when using the crosswalk. Walk them through the steps, demonstrating how to wait for the traffic signal or for vehicles to come to a complete stop before crossing. Emphasize the importance of eye contact with drivers to ensure they see you.

Take the children to a nearby crosswalk and practice crossing together. Start by using less busy crosswalks and gradually progress to more complex ones with heavier traffic. Role-play different scenarios, such as crossing with a group or crossing alone, to prepare them for different situations they might encounter.

Observe Traffic Signals

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data from 2021 reported 7,388 pedestrian fatalities, a 12.5% increase over the previous year.

These numbers highlight the importance of teaching children the meaning of traffic signals and signs commonly found at crosswalks, such as signals, red lights, and pedestrian crossing signs. Teach children to wait for the walk signal and only to cross when it is safe.

Engage in interactive activities that involve practicing traffic signal obedience during walks or outings to reinforce the significance of following these signals.

Look Left, Right, and Left Again

Pedestrian accidents often occur because of miscommunication or negligence. Teach your child to look left, right, and left again before crossing the street. This should become second nature to them.

Research indicates that maintaining eye contact with drivers and ensuring they have been seen before stepping off the curb can reduce the risk of accidents caused by miscommunication or negligence. Instill in them the importance of remaining vigilant and proactive in ensuring their safety.

Minimize Distractions

Distractions can jeopardize pedestrian safety. Studies suggest that using an electronic device while walking divides attention and increases the risk of injury. Encourage children to stay focused and alert while walking to school, putting away electronic devices such as smartphones or tablets.

Advise them to avoid using headphones or listening to loud music that can impair their ability to hear approaching vehicles or warning signals. Children can better react to potential hazards and make safe decisions while walking by focusing on their surroundings.

Walk in Groups

Walking in groups improves safety by increasing visibility to drivers. Encourage children to walk to school with friends or in groups whenever possible. The St. Louis Safe Routes to School program actively promotes group walking to improve pedestrian safety in Missouri.

This approach makes your child more visible to oncoming traffic and creates a sense of community and shared responsibility for safety. Help children understand the importance of looking out for one another and adhering to the principles of pedestrian safety as a group.

Practice School Bus Safety

School buses are widely recognized as one of the safest modes of transportation for students. Well-established research from the NHTSA shows that school buses have a 0.2 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fatality rate, compared to 1.5 per 100 million VMT of cars.

A newer 2020 NHTSA report reported only 89 large school bus involved-accident fatalities between 2011 and 2020.

If your child takes the school bus, educate them about school bus safety protocols, such as standing at least 10 feet away from the curb and waiting for it to come to a complete stop before approaching.

Remind them to follow the instructions provided by the bus driver when boarding or disembarking. Emphasize the importance of staying seated and behaving appropriately.

Seeking Legal Support After a Pedestrian Accident

Accidents can still occur even when exercising caution and sticking to safety rules. If you or your child has been a pedestrian accident victim in Missouri, seek legal assistance from Cofman Townsley.

Our experienced car accident attorneys can help you hold a negligent driver responsible for their actions. We’ll evaluate your case, establish liability, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation, and let us advocate for your rights.