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Watch Out For Children In Winter


Winter Driving Conditions And School Children Can Be A Dangerous Combination

With school starting back on Monday after the winter break, ACC is reminding drivers to be extra watchful for children when the weather’s bad.

“Driving in winter, especially in the low light of the morning or late afternoon, brings a whole new set of hazards,” ACC’s public safety programme manager, Jennifer Brown said. “Most of us do pay extra attention when driving around schools or during the hours before and after school, but winter driving conditions make seeing children so much harder. The weather can also make it harder for them to see the cars, especially when it’s raining hard.

“That’s also when pedestrians might cross the road quickly to get out of the rain, rather than waiting at the lights or walking to a pedestrian crossing.”

Ms Brown said that with the winter sun low in the sky, sunstrike can make it difficult to see pedestrians – particularly small ones – while wet and icy roads make it harder to stop quickly.

“It’s also worth reminding ourselves that when passing a school bus that’s stopped to let off or pick up children, the legal speed limit is 20 kilometres an hour. That’s until you are well clear of the bus, and is regardless of which direction you’re driving in.”

Drivers need to remember that children generally have poor road skills and at all times it’s the adults’ responsibility to keep them safe. Jennifer Brown said that drivers should remember that children:

• Have poor peripheral vision – they don’t see well to the side.
• Have more of their body weight above the waist, so they fall over more frequently.
• Are less co-ordinated than adults.
• Can’t tell where the traffic noises are coming from.

To reduce the need for children to cross the road to school, Ms Brown also advises parents to drop their children off on the same side of the road as the school.

“The main thing for drivers to remember when driving this winter is to slow down, especially around schools, and to be extra vigilant when the weather makes visibility and stopping ability difficult,” she said.


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