Fall has arrived and that means that winter – with its rain and fog – is lurking just around the corner. Escalon Police are putting an emphasis on safety, said acting Chief Milt Medeiros, especially when it comes to students around schools.
“The upcoming holiday season will be a time for celebrations and family gatherings. This is also the time of year that brings a change in weather conditions and reduced visibility due to fog,” Medeiros said. “Those who walk to and from work or school are urged to follow all safety rules and to remain vigilant at all times.”
In 2011, an estimated 69,000 pedestrians were injured nationwide as a result of traffic related collisions, 11,000 of those injured were age 14 years or younger. Teenage males accounted for 65 percent (7,000) of those 11,000 injured. Unintentional pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury-related death in the Unites States for children ages 5 to 19. Teens have a death rate twice that of younger children and account for half of all child pedestrian deaths.
Medeiros said the figures show the need for focusing on safety, and in hope of preventing such a tragedy, he said parents should speak with their children about being safe while walking.
“The following is a list of safety tips that can be shared during such a discussion,” Medeiros added.
Cross streets where there are signals or crossing guards whenever possible.
At all signals, cross only when the “walk” signal is displayed.
Check for traffic before stepping into a crosswalk, staying alert for turning vehicles, vehicles running red lights and distracted drivers. Do not start to cross until traffic has completely stopped. Try to make eye contact with approaching drivers as an added insurance that they recognize your presence.
Be careful around driveways. Even though you are on a sidewalk, a vehicle turning in or out of the driveway must cross the sidewalk and the driver may not be aware of a pedestrian presence.
At intersections not controlled by traffic control signals, cross the street one lane at a time. Cross into the next lane only when it is absolutely safe to do so.
Before stepping out to cross, first look left, then right, then left again to check for approaching traffic.
When crossing one lane, never assume that vehicle traffic in the next lane will stop or the driver will see you just because traffic has stopped. Often when a vehicle stops, it blocks the view of the pedestrian from drivers in other lanes.
Be extra careful when you get off a bus, making sure to carefully look for approaching traffic before crossing the street.
Teach your children at an early age to put down their electronic devices before crossing any street or driveway.
Parents, walk the routes to school with your children. Show them the proper places to cross and how to be safe. Do the same for other walking routes your children utilize.
If at all possible, avoid walking or crossing the street in the dark. If you must do so, wear brightly colored or reflective clothing.
“Awareness by both drivers and pedestrians is essential in the prevention of pedestrian accidents,” Medeiros said. “These events can happen when one or both the pedestrian and the driver are inattentive or careless. When it comes down to pedestrian versus vehicle, the pedestrian always loses because of the size and weight of the vehicle.”
While noting that there is little that a pedestrian can do to improve a driver’s habits, or that a driver can do about the behavior of pedestrians, Medeiros said both can work together to avoid accidents.
“Our children are our greatest asset, and their safety is paramount to all citizens,” he said.