Stop Endangering My Child’s Life Just Because You Are in a Hurry

Posted on | 5 Comments

I have something really important to say today.

Please watch for walkers before and after school.

Please remind your teenage drivers to do so as well. Being late to school or work is such a small thing compared to putting a child’s life in danger by careless driving.

safety for kids walking to school

My kids are fortunate enough to live close to their school. We walk our children to school and back every day that the weather permits. The benefits of walking are not only reducing traffic and pollution but also allowing our children much needed exercise and outdoor time before and after school.

Each day we cross two roads that are part of a major intersection. The roads are clearly marked with pedestrian crosswalks and pedestrian signal boxes. We always stop at the intersection, press the button, and wait for the walker symbol to appear. We also watch for drivers, wave at them, and show our intent to walk when the pedestrian signal appears.

Despite the fact that we have two small children walking, despite the fact that we use the crosswalk and wait our turn, and despite the fact that we are careful and watch out for the daily drivers who are on phones and paying no attention to their surroundings–we still are regularly cut-off or almost hit in the middle of the road by drivers turning on red or green who refuse to yield to us. Some of these drivers even see us crossing and still refuse to yield.

In 2014, SC was ranked as the 4th most dangerous state for pedestrians by US Today.

 

Cars are so much faster than pedestrians, especially small children pedestrians. We can’t possibly predict every car that will fly up to the intersection and turn without stopping or looking. Today, a large truck turned right as it was our turn to cross and of course we had no choice but to wait patiently. Then the car behind the truck which was stopped and clearly saw us signal that we were trying to cross with our children in the crosswalk turned right in front of us putting our children’s lives in danger.

After this incident, my 5-year old child fell in the crosswalk and hurt her knee because we were rushing to cross 5 lanes of traffic before the light turned green.

I wish I could say that this was a rare occurrence but it’s not. In fact, it’s almost weekly that cars refuse to yield the right of way to my family. Many drivers are on cell phones and not watching for pedestrians even though they are near an elementary school during pick-up or drop-off hours.

school safety

Please take time to watch the sidewalks and intersections when you drive. It is SC law to yield to pedestrians that are lawfully crossing within the crosswalks. You must yield even if you are turning and this might be when your light is green or when there is no traffic signal to stop you. Please put down your cell phones, especially near the school zones. Please make eye contact and clearly signal that you are yielding when you are waiting to turn. Turning cars are a real danger to pedestrians as they are often stopped in traffic and it can be difficult to assess the driver’s intention to yield or not.

As pedestrians, we will cross lawfully, we will watch for you, and we will use the cross walk boxes when provided, but we need your help. Our children’s safety is important.

Careless driving near school zones endangers not only pedestrians’ safety but the safety of every child being transported to or from school whether by car, bus, or walking.

From the SC DMV: “At the crosswalk you should yield by slowing or stopping for a pedestrian who is on your side of the roadway, or who is close enough to your side to be in danger. Unless they are at an intersection or within a marked crosswalk, pedestrians must yield to vehicles. Pedestrians must walk facing traffic. In entering an intersection on a green signal, a driver making a right or left turn is required by law to yield to pedestrians on the cross street lawfully within the intersection. Do not stop in a crosswalk.”

Walking to school offers health, psychological, and social benefits for our children. Please help make walking to school a safer option by stopping, looking, and yielding for pedestrians.

About the Author
Bethany Winston is the owner and editor-in-chief of Kidding Around Greenville & Kidding Around Spartanburg. She enjoys exploring parks, discovering local events, and meeting the people who make Greenville an amazing place to live. You can contact her directly at [email protected]

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6 years ago

I am so glad you posted this. We’ve been walkers for years and there are always so many assholes in sooooo much of a hurry- even other parents with small kids. I saw a dad last year almost hit his own daughter after letting her out bc he was in such a hurry to get out of the lot.

Rachael
6 years ago

My neighborhood is also lucky enough to have a school within walking distance, but with sidewalks on only 2 roads – one of those being right in front of the school – it is simply dangerous for kids to walk to school. In the afternoon, I see parents and kids walking home and being forced into ditches while cars pass them going far beyond the legal limit of 25mph. If anyone knows how to petition for a few sidewalks around my area, I’m all ears!

Ellie Rhodes
6 years ago

Since I retired, I have been walking. Every day on Augusta Road, I am almost hit while in a crosswalk with the crosswalk light lit. I have even had people blow their horns and swear at me for being in THEIR way. And that is the people who are paying any attention. It is a very real problem. Some of the crosswalks don’t even work.

AJ
5 years ago

Moved a couple of years from south Florida and lived next to a school the speed limit was 15mph and every day there was a police car that reinforced that speed limit. I live in Taylors now and there are two schools next to my place and everytime I’m in the area so many cars go over 40-45mph (while lights are flashing) that’s unacceptable.