While structured education is valuable, children also learn by what they observe. They will copy the behaviour of the adults that they spend the most time with. If they see you taking risks, they are likely to do the same.
The following steps will help you to reinforce the road safety messages that they will have heard elsewhere, and will keep you safe too
Step 1: Think
Think about where you want to cross the road. Is there a pedestrian crossing nearby? Will other road users see you while you are crossing? Are there any hazards or obstructions that will stop you from crossing the road safely?
Step 2: Stop
When you have decided where you are going to cross, stop. Stand well back from the kerb and try not to get too close to the traffic.
Step 3: Look
Have a good look around. Look towards the oncoming traffic first – this is usually from the right but if it is a one-way street it may be from the left. Look in all directions, and keep looking until it is clear.
Step 4: Listen
As you are looking around, listen out for the sound of traffic. Listen out for emergency vehicles that may appear suddenly and travel faster than normal traffic. Be aware that cyclists and electric vehicles may not make a lot of noise. If traffic is coming, wait until it has passed by.
Step 5: Think
When it is safe to do so, begin crossing the road in a straight line. Keep looking and listening for traffic while you cross.
One of the best ways to keep your child safe is to set a good example when using the road, whether on foot, by bicycle or by car.
Use the green cross code yourself when crossing the road. If you are using a signal controlled pedestrian crossing, wait for the green figure to appear before starting to cross.
Try not to get visibly angry when you see other road users making mistakes. ‘Road rage’ can become a distraction itself and even young children may copy your behaviour. Instead try to use these situations as a learning example. Ask your child about what they could have done differently and explain why it is important that we all use the road safely.
We have a number of resources available as part of our Junior Road Safety Officers scheme. As parents or carers you may find them useful too! Please feel free to download any of the items below.