Children must walk, drivers must be careful

After the end of the school holidays, there will be chaos in many places in front of schools and kindergartens. The reason for this is that many parents drive their children to the school gate or to the entrance to the kindergarten. There are speeding violations, parking rules are ignored, children are often not properly secured and end up on the side of the road instead of on the sidewalk. U-turns in the dense crowd of cars further aggravate the confusing situation and endanger children and other road users.

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The parents mean well, want to protect their offspring from the dangers of road traffic and endanger themselves with their behavior. An evaluation of traffic accidents involving children up to 14 years of age in the period from 2015 to 2019 by the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) showed that serious accidents involving children as pedestrians or cyclists are generally decreasing. However, the number of seriously injured children in the car increased. One reason for this could be that children were more often brought to the destination by car.

Children drive 17 kilometers in the car every day

Figures from the German social accident insurance (DGUV) also support this thesis. According to DGUV statistics on notifiable school accidents when driving, there were almost 2,500 reported accidents among school children aged 6 to 14 in 2017, 1,800 accidents in 2018 and 2,300 in 2019. The figures have increased over the past two years back ( 2020: 1366; 2021: 1346).

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Homeschooling could have had an accident-reducing effect here. According to BASt, younger children in particular were noticeably less likely to walk. On average, each child walked and cycled one kilometer a day. Car passengers, on the other hand, covered an average of 17 kilometers per day. According to BASt evaluations, the risk of an accident in a car is particularly high in rural areas and small towns.

DGUV recommends going to school primarily on foot or, depending on the age of the school child, by bicycle. Many municipalities have a school route map, from which the individually best or safest route can be determined. The shortest route is not always the best choice. If, for example, lanes are to be crossed, a crossing point must always be used.

The road to school must always be the same

Important: You set a path that the child stays on every day. So no one gets lost or ends up in confusing, unfamiliar traffic situations. If 1st grade students from the neighborhood have the same route to school, it makes sense that they go together. A positive side effect of physical activity: the children become independent and learn to behave in a traffic-friendly manner. In addition, the daily walk to school through the fresh air trains fitness and helps to increase concentration.

An alternative to parent taxis can be so-called shuttle buses. Here, a group of primary school children go to school together. Initially, they are accompanied by adults, with the parents taking turns. Just like a school bus, there are stops and a fixed route map so that children can join the bus on different routes.

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If you cannot do without a car, parents should not stop directly in front of the school, but a little further away. The children then walk at least a distance. Many schools now set up pick-up and drop-off zones. These must be used.

Drivers must be prepared for children who suddenly appear

Motorists should also take special care of the NBC shooters. This is emphasized by ADAC Sachsen: In the vicinity of kindergartens and schools, the following generally applies: Slow down and be especially foresight and ready to brake. Parents driving their youngest to school should always keep to the side of the school and be careful not to obstruct following cars or school buses. You also need to be prepared for other children coming from across the street or running out of street parking spaces. It is important that children are properly and age-appropriately secured in the vehicle.

Many accidents occur because first graders cannot see over parked cars due to their small body size and cannot recognize hazards due to a limited field of vision and lack of awareness of the hazards. They need up to three times more time than adults to react appropriately to dangerous traffic situations. With the correct preparation of the children, many accidents can be avoided.

Practice under real conditions

Before the first day of school, as often as possible, parents should practice walking to school with their children in real-life conditions and discuss dangerous places on the road in detail. Huk-Coburg-Versicherung advises parents of abc shooters to teach their children to stop at the curb at a sufficient distance from moving traffic when they practice going to school.

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Children should always make eye contact with the driver before crossing the street. However, as school children are often overwhelmed when it comes to estimating speeds and distances and do not always obey the rules, motorists should be careful and be ready to slow down, especially in reduced traffic zones and in front of kindergartens and schools.

Always be ready to slow down near schools and kindergartens

The following applies to motorists near kindergartens and schools: Slow down and be particularly alert and ready to brake while driving. Even on a supposedly empty street, you have to count on children suddenly appearing.

Parents driving their youngest to school should always keep to the side of the school and be careful not to obstruct following cars or school buses. You also need to be prepared for other children coming from across the street or running out of street parking spaces.

RND/SP-X/dk

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