Crosswalks should be areas where pedestrians can safely get across the street and not have to worry about speeding vehicles. Unfortunately, drivers tend to disregard crosswalk safety laws in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Here, our Chicago child injury lawyers want to discuss how to keep children safe at crosswalks. It is crucial for adults to always discuss roadway and crosswalk safety with children of all ages. By instilling traffic safety values, parents are taking the steps necessary to build a lifetime of safe roadway practices in their kids.
Safety is The Most Important Aspect for Children and Crosswalks
Data from the Illinois Department of Transportation shows us that there were 4,796 total pedestrian accidents across the state during the latest year of information we have on file. We do not know exactly how many of these incidents involved kids at crosswalks, but we do know how crucial it is for parents and guardians to ensure the safety of their young ones. The human body, particularly a child’s body, is not meant to withstand the force of the vehicle, even a slow-moving vehicle near a crosswalk.
1. Stay Visible
Parents have to make sure that their kids are visible when they are around crosswalks. As seasons change, it is not uncommon for some kids to find themselves walking to school or the bus stop before the sun has come all the way up. Additionally, children who participate in after-school activities may find themselves walking home after the sun is going down.
We strongly encourage parents to consider getting clothing, jackets, or backpacks that incorporate brighter colors or reflective materials. Additionally, you can purchase a relatively inexpensive flashlight for your child to carry if they will be outside during darker conditions.
Make sure that your child knows that they can never assume that a driver sees them. Teach your child to make eye contact with the driver and make sure the driver actually sees them before stepping out on the road, even at a crosswalk. Child visibility is difficult because they are typically shorter than adults.
2. Walk Only When Allowed
Parents and guardians should help their children choose a route to and from their destination that stays on sidewalks as much as possible. If a child must enter the roadway, it is important for them to stay as far to the shoulder or the edge of the road as possible. Parents and guardians should ensure that their children only cross the street at intersections and use crosswalks when they are available. If a crosswalk with signals is present, children need to learn to walk only when the green “walk” sign is illuminated. Even at crosswalks, children need to look in both directions and ensure that vehicles are slowing down and stopping.
3. Avoid Playing at a Crosswalk
Children play and roughhouse all the time. Kids are naturally energetic, and it is not uncommon to see children playing when they are walking to and from their destinations. However, what starts out as horseplay can often turn dangerous, particularly if the plane ends with a child darting out into the road.
Parents and guardians need to teach their children to avoid any activity that could pose a risk of them falling into the path of a vehicle, including shoving or pushing others. There should not be any type of sport played while walking around the roadway, including tossing a baseball or football.