Friday, July 15, 2011

Practicing Courtesy to Keep Kids Alive

This morning at a local YMCA I noticed a lesson that can be applied to our driving behaviors.

An older gentleman held the door open for a troop of kids participating in summer camp. The first 10 or so walked through without saying a word. Then, one young boy - probably 7 years-old - said "thank you." Every child who followed him thanked the man for holding the door. That young boy had set courtesy in motion with two simple words - thank you.

Opportunities present themselves every day to start a wave of courtesy on roadways throughout the world. What do these opportunities look like?

They look like stopping at stop signs, using turn signals, obeying speed limits, and setting cell phones aside to concentrate on the task at hand - driving.

What drives you to courtesy behind the wheel? Your examples are welcome.

In safety,
Tom Everson 


Leon Arundell said...

It's not just about courtesy!
We need to educate our children about the Road Rules, so that they can educate their parents.

Perhaps it's different in Australia, but here we have Road Rules that require drivers to give way to pedestrians (including children) at intersections.

But these Rules are routinely ignored by adult drivers, who simply use muscle their way through.

Instead of taking their "rightful" turn, children are forced to wait for a break in the traffic and then make a potentially dangerous dash across the road.

Instead of educating children about the Road Rules, our educators teach them that - except at marked crossings - they must wait until the road is clear of vehicles before they start to cross.

These children grow up believing that vehicles have right of way over pedestrians. When they become drivers themselves, they drive as if children (and other pedestrians) have no rights except at marked crossings.

This completes the vicious cycle.

The alternative is to teach children:

1. that they can't rely on the road rules, because adults don't obey them.

2. what the road rules actually are.

3. to correct their parents when they fail to give way to children and other pedestrians.

4. when a driver is supposed to give way to them, to catch the driver's eye and wait until the driver indicates that it is safe for them to cross.

The perhaps then we will produce a generation of drivers who allow children to safely to cross the road.

Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 said...

I agree Leon. It is a cooperative effort between motorists, parents, educated children, law enforcement, engineers, and many others in order to create safe travel environments.