Children are some of the most vulnerable road users in the world, and with increased mobility in rural and urban areas across the world, it is now especially important to teach children about road safety and the importance of seeing and being seen.
South Africa has some of the worst road crash statistics in the world and with questionable standards and policies required for novice drivers, teaching children the rules of the road is vital, particularly those who are pedestrians and are using public transport daily. Following the Lights On Campaign, the Automobile Association (AA) urges all road users and motorists to teach their children about the importance of visibility on the road.
The AA, says that many road users, pedestrians, passengers and motorists alike, undermine the value that comes from being visible. “We at the AA have always maintained that as a motorist, having your headlights on meant that pedestrians can see you. Now however, we need to start teaching our children on the importance of being visible on the road at all times. It starts with the basics: such as walking facing oncoming traffic, and keeping a clear distance between you and the road when walking on pavements and being aware at all times of the situation on the road.”
The AA is always excited to hear that companies like BP are investing in a number of community safety initiatives like the Communities for Road Safety (CORSAF) and hopes that in time, this project will be extended to other areas in the country.
“We insist that parents invest in reflective items for their children – especially if they use public transport or have extra-curricular activities that end in the evening. Visibility is very important on the road and parents need to get their children to understand that a very big aspect to being safe on the road is to ensure that you are seen at all times – especially when crossing busy intersections and when it gets dark.”
Many roads in both rural and urban areas in South Africa have poor or no street lighting and the speeds that many motorists travel at when they are driving during the evening is often quite inappropriate.
“During this year’s Scholar Patrol initiative, we noticed that in many of the areas we went to, activity on the road was exponentially increased during the evening; and this was also evident with the number of children on the road.”
Visibility is something that the Departments of Transport and Basic Education need to emphasize and enforce in order to curb road fatalities and crashes involving children.
The AA concludes, “Pedestrians have always been harder to regulate in terms of obeying traffic laws and road regulations, but if we start by educating our children to adhere to the basic safety principles, we’ll help raise a new generation of road users who are cognisant of road rules, traffic laws and the consequences of violation.”
Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
011 799 1126