Williams, Stitely & Brink PC

How safe is your young child as a pedestrian?

If you are a parent of young children in South Carolina, you might experience anxiety whenever they are off to school or in any circumstances in which they have to deal with vehicular traffic. You will probably know that children in elementary school are active and could be very impulsive. Although you cannot protect your children forever, those under the age of 10 years will likely not be ready to deal with traffic without supervision and guidance.

This is the time when they are still learning and not entirely aware of all the dangers with which they must deal as pedestrians. Too many children are the victims of car accidents every year, and it is up to you to teach your children about pedestrian safety. Due to some myths and misconceptions, many accidents involving child pedestrians occur every year because children dart into roads and the paths of vehicle.

Myths and misconceptions

Children must learn that green lights do not necessarily mean safe crossing. Careful left-right-left observation is still necessary before stepping off the curb. Furthermore, being in a crosswalk does not guarantee safety, and it is essential to make sure a driver sees them before they cross the street. Teach a child that even if he or she can see the driver, a distracted driver may not notice him or her, and the driver may not stop.

Common crashes involving young pedestrians

Certain types of accidents that involve child pedestrians and cars have proved to be more prevalent than others. Taking note of these may help you to teach your children to look out for these common dangers:

  • Child darting into the street: This often happens in a residential area where children play close to the roadways. It is not uncommon for a child to run into the street to retrieve a ball. It may help to teach your child to ask for an adult's help to recover anything from the road.
  • Car turning into a child's path: A child may see the green light and assume it is safe to walk without checking for a turning vehicle.
  • Ice cream trucks: It is only natural for children to be excited around ice cream trucks, and they often run into the roadway without checking for traffic. Not all drivers recognize this, and they fail to drive cautiously when they see an ice cream truck.
  • Children getting on and off a school bus: This is a known hazardous area, and state laws require drivers to stop when they see school buses loading children on or off on undivided highways. While you might have taught your child to carefully check for vehicles before crossing the street while hidden by the bus, children are unpredictable at young ages.
  • Backing-up vehicles: Another hazard that some parents forget about is the dangers posed by vehicles that are backing up in driveways and parking lots. It may help to make them aware of the reverse tail lights on cars and the backup alarms on trucks.

Unfortunately, even if you do everything right, a negligent driver may strike your child and cause serious injuries. If this should happen, you may find some comfort in knowing that you may pursue relief of the financial burden by filing a personal injury lawsuit in a civil court. If this seems overwhelming, you may seek the support and guidance of experienced legal counsel.

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Williams, Stitely & Brink PC
P.O. Box 2390
200 East Main Street
Lexington, SC 29072

Phone: 803-359-9000
Fax: 803-359-9945
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