As community members it is important to remember that safety is everybody’s job and we all have a role to play in providing safe routes to school.
The following content comes from MassDOT and comes in 2 parts:
1. How drivers can do their part to make crossing the street safer for children.
2. How you can teach children to cross the street safely.
Drivers - Do Your Part to Make Crossing the Street Safer.
Your driving plays a big part in the safety of children as they get to and from school. Whether they walk, bike, or get dropped off, you play an important role in their safety. The following are steps to keep in mind as you are driving in the community:
1. Follow directions from the crossing guards. A crossing guard will use hand signals and their STOP paddles to indicate when drivers must stop and allow students to cross the street. It is your responsibility to obey these signals.
2. Be aware of children's small size. Kids can be blocked from view simply because they are shorter. They can be hidden by buses, cars and certainly even snowbanks.
3. Obey the speed limit. The school zone speed limit in Massachusetts is 20 MPH.
4. Reduce speed when approaching a crosswalk. Check closely to make sure there are not children approaching the crosswalk or road.
5. Yield at crosswalks. Massachusetts law states that drivers must yield at a crosswalk if a pedestrian is walking in that half of the road or is within 10 feet of crossing that half of the road.
6. Do not pass another vehicle if it is stopped at a crosswalk.
Parents - How we can teach children to cross the street in a safe manner. Teach your child to:
1. Use designated crosswalks and follow walk signals before crossing the street
2. Look all around you before crossing the street, even if you are at a crosswalk or walk signal. Cars may not be obeying the rules.
3. Watch for signs that a car is about to move. Look for rear lights, the sounds of the motor, or the wheels turning.
4. Try to establish eye contact with a driver who is approaching a crosswalk or entering or exiting a driveway.
5. Allow the driver to come to a complete stop before you begin to cross the street.
6. Walk, don't run (and walk your bike) across the street and be aware of your surroundings.
If you make sure that your child knows these street-crossing tips and be a good role model when you cross the street with them.
This information comes from the MassDOT and the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School initiative. For more information please visit Mass.gov/MassDOT/SafeRoutes