Recently in May, there was a heart-wrenching accident that happened on the west side of Singapore. It was about a six-year-old kid that was run over by a bus. With due respect to the mourning family, we decided to broach the subject later. Put the why, how and who is to blame aside and think, how well do our kids know road safety, especially school going kids? As a parent, it is good to establish road safety to your kids from a tender age.
Why teach Road Safety Rules
Children do not have the maturity to know what to do when crossing the road. Road safety is an important topic taught in schools to children. However, it is better to start teaching your kids at home from a tender age. Parents can teach them all about the dos and don’ts when crossing the road. However, telling them will not be enough. The best way to teach them is to show them. Here are five things you can teach about road safety.
Road Safety Rules and Regulations
1) Know Your Traffic Signals
There are different types of traffic signals. We have the Traffic Lights, Zebra Crossings Overhead Bridges and Underpasses. The Traffic Lights for vehicles has three main colours that are green, yellow and red.
- Green Means Go. Vehicles will start moving when the green light comes.
- Yellow means slow down. Approaching vehicles will slow down when the yellow light appears
- Red means Stop. Vehicles will stop when the red light appears.
The traffic signal for pedestrians at the pedestrian crossing has the Green Man and the Red Man.
- Green Man means Walk
- Blinking Green Man means walk quickly if you already on the road. Do not walk if you just reached the pedestrian crossing.
- Red Man means Do Not Walk.
Teach your young ones the importance of the Traffic Light signal. For school going kids, teach them to be vigilant at all times when standing at the pedestrian crossing. Always tell them to be aware of vehicles and not be distracted by their handphones or books. Most importantly, warn them never to play at the pedestrian crossing and not dash across the road when the signal is going to change. In 2017, 132 children were involved in road accidents. Most of them were school kids below the age of 12.
At the Zebra Crossing teach your kids to look left, right and left to make sure there is no oncoming vehicle or that the vehicle has stopped and then cross with one hand raised. Sometimes drivers cannot see when kids are crossing. This is to ensure the child can be seen.
Use the overhead bridge or underpass if there is one. Teach them not to run or play when crossing the bridge.
2) Do Not Jay Walk
This is one important rule. Do not ever jaywalk when you are with your kids, especially toddlers. It makes them think that it is ok to go across the road when there are no traffic signals. When walking on the pavement, always be near your kids and hold their hands at all times. You may never know when they would suddenly change direction and head towards the road. Teach your school going kids not to jaywalk by being a role model first. Tell them to always use the traffic signals when they are going to or coming back from school. This year, 2018, there were at least 38 road accidents that occurred in Singapore. One of the main cause is jaywalking.
3) Stop, Look, Cross
When crossing small roads, teach your young ones to stop and look left and right first and then cross. The roads might be clear of vehicles. However, it is good to instill this rule in children. Furthermore, teach them to look for the turn signal on the vehicle to gauge if the vehicle would be turning left or right. There have been incidents where kids have been seen to dash across these small roads on their scooters or bicycles. You may never know when a vehicle can suddenly appear out of nowhere. Therefore, teach them to be careful even when crossing these small junctions. Also, teach them not to cross in between stationary vehicles. There is no saying when the vehicle is going to move.
4) Use Your Ears Too
Teach your kids how to use their ears in road safety. Explain that the engine or horn sounds could be used to gauge how far or near the vehicle is. When the vehicle is near, the sound would be louder and if its far away, it would be faint. This is more suitable when crossing the small junctions connecting the carparks.
5) Good Car Etiquette
Road safety also includes when travelling in a vehicle. Teach your kids to behave when travelling in any vehicle. Get proper child car seats for younger kids if you own a car. To your older kids, teach them the importance of the safety belt. Make sure to remind your older kids to buckle up at all times. Also, remind them not to do anything distracting to the driver when on the road, be it you or another person who is driving. Teach them not to play with the car door as it can be very dangerous. Sticking the hand out of the vehicle is a big NO. When travelling in the bus, teach your kids why it is not okay to play around especially with the bus stopping buttons.
Dear parents, start early and teach road safety to your kids. For those with school going kids, talk to them and test their knowledge of road safety as and when you can. Here is a video animation about road safety for you to show your kids: