June 03, 2011 12:00:00 AM
At what point did we stop teaching our children about road safety? As I drive around, either near work or home, I find there are people walking to and from completely ignoring the crosswalks or signals. Sometimes they have their headphones on and couldn’t hear a car coming even if they wanted to. Sometimes they are talking on their cell phone. And sometimes they’re even running with their kids across a busy street, teaching them this dangerous activity. I find these incidents disconcerting.
I’ve come to call these people domesticated pedestrians because they’ve lost their fear of cars. It’s sort of like when someone feeds squirrels or any other wild animal and they get so used to the food source that they lose their fear of people. This is not a healthy practice to get into.
These domesticated pedestrians may be kids or adults. I’ve seen professionals in suits or scrubs walk down the sidewalk and step off the curb and into the street without missing a beat or ever looking to see if cars are coming. There is this mentality that “I’m a pedestrian, the car has to stop for me”. I sure hope the driver is paying attention and not adjusting the radio or texting.
I do take these opportunities to educate my children on road safety; and for my oldest, who has his driver’s permit, about safe driving and watching for pedestrians even though you as the driver, has the right-of-way.
Please take the time to teach your child about road safety. It’s important for kids to know to “Look both ways” (remember that?). Kids are never too young to start teaching them about road/parking lot safety. Show them how to look for moving cars and for reverse lights. Show them how to cross the street to get the mail. Walk to your local convenient store or sit in a coffee shop and watch the people as they’re crossing the street and parking lot. Show them the good examples and the not so safe choices people can make.
Don’t let your child become a domesticated pedestrian.