Five Safety Tips on Walk to School Day

The sight of children walking to school has been a familiar one this week as Walk to School Day was celebrated.

Walking to school is good for your health and better for the environment. Often kids are driven short distances to school. Roads around schools are clogged up with cars and the environment can be more dangerous for other kids and more polluted. Last year, on Walk to School Day, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx posted a video saying walking to school can make you brighter.

This year, more than 4,400 schools took part in walk to school events. Participants included Butts Road Intermediate School and Georgetown Primary in Chesapeake, Tarrallton, Richard Bowling and Mary Calcott elementary schools in Norfolk.

tips for safe walking to school

The walking school bus to John Tyler Elementary in Port Norfolk

There were events at 16 elementary schools in Newport News. Participants in Portsmouth included Hodges Manor, Victory, James Hunt, Douglas Park and John Tyler elementary schools in Portsmouth.

Many more schools took part in events such as walking school buses in Hampton Roads.

Although these events are great for introducing children to the idea of walking to school, it’s important that walking or cycling becomes a way or life rather than a one-off event.

For more information on walking or cycling to school, see the Safe Routes to School National Partnership or the National Center for Safe Routes to School.

If you are walking or cycling to school, make sure to follow these safety tips. Accidents involving students going to and from school typically spike in the fall when mornings and nights get darker.

Five Safe Routes to School Tips

1 – Look Left and Right

Have a route planned out that minimizes crossing the road. Aim to use crosswalks or the places where there are crossing guards at corners. Don’t cross on a no walking sign at lights. Look left-right-left before crossing the street. Kids should always check for traffic before and in front of and behind them to make sure no cars are turning into the lane.

2 – Don’t be Distracted

Make sure your children don’t use devices when they are walking to school and don’t be distracted and on your phone yourself. Even on the sidewalk, distracted walking can lead to accidents and mean you are not aware of your surroundings. If you are cycling to school, don’t listen to music.

3 Walk With a Friend

Children are safer when they are walking in groups. This is especially the case in neighborhoods with no sidewalks. Drivers are more likely to see a large group of children and give them more space. Children aged 10 or under must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

4 Know Which Side to Walk

If a road has sidewalks on both sides you can walk on either side. If there is a sidewalk on just one side, it is recommended to use the sidewalk for traveling in either direction. If no sidewalks exist on the road, you should walk facing oncoming traffic on the same side of the road as the oncoming traffic.

If you are cycling the law says you should ride in the same direction as traffic and make sure you have lights and use hand signals.

5 Be Visible

Wear light and bright or reflective clothing. This is especially the case if you are cycling in the dark. Carry a flashlight if you are going to be walking in poorly lit areas.

If you are injured in a wreck in a school zone or elsewhere, call us at (757) 455-0077.

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