Reflectors make children easy to see
Things like rain, fog and darkness reduce visibility on the road in winter. For children, this means a greater danger when they go to school in the morning. “Make sure that your children are easily visible on the way. The best ways to do this are through bright, easily noticeable clothing, combined with reflective elements attached to hats or bags, or white stripes on the shoes”, explains accident researcher Stefanie Ritter. One example are the baseball caps that DEKRA hands out to children starting school every year, which make them easier to see in traffic much earlier. They are bright red and feature striking reflector strips.
Another way to make the way to school safer is by focusing on the typical hazardous areas en route, such as road crossings. Here, it can be useful to remind children of the rules for safely crossing the road: stand at the roadside; look left, right, then left again; give a hand signal; establish eye contact with the driver and cross the road via the shortest possible route.
Children should cross the road at a secure point wherever possible, such as crosswalks, traffic lights or traffic islands. Often, taking a small detour can be the safer option. “Parents should practice walking to school with their children and take note of the potentially dangerous areas”, says the expert. By contrast, it can be extremely dangerous to cross the road at areas with poor visibility or lighting, such as between parked vehicles. Scenarios like these frequently lead to serious accidents.
Drivers, on the other hand, should take particular care and pay extra attention when driving in poor visibility conditions. When driving close to schools, kindergartens or sporting facilities, or wherever children are expected at the roadside, they should take their foot off the gas, keep a good eye on the roadside and be ready to brake if necessary. “Extra care should also be taken at bus stops”, adds Ritter. “Be aware that children may run across the road to reach the bus, and that children getting off the bus may suddenly appear from behind the vehicle and cross the road.”