Follow these important safety tips when walking to your desingated bus stop or school:
1. More the Merrier: Parents should walk with young children to the bus stop and wait with them until they get on the school bus. Older students should consider walking safely in a group.
2. Walk Facing Traffic: If there is no sidewalk and you must walk on the side of the road, choose the side where you are facing oncoming traffic. This gives you the best chance to see traffic approaching closest to you and move out of the way when needed.
3. Cross Safely: Look both ways before crossing any street! At controlled intersections, it is wise to cross only when you have the pedestrian crossing light, but even then, drivers and bikers may have a green light to turn and won't be expecting you to be in the crosswalk. Make eye contact with any drivers who may be turning. Give them a wave. Make sure they see you. In a car-walker interaction, you can only lose.
4. Walk Single File: Unless you are on a sidewalk separated from the road or a wide bike lane, you should walk in single file. This is especially important on a road with lots of curves, where traffic has only a split-second chance of seeing you before hitting you. While it can be enjoyable to walk down the road next to two or three friends, drivers don't expect it.
5. Stay Aware of Bikes and Runners: Share the road and path with bikes and runners. Bike riders should alert you when approaching from behind with a bike bell or by shouting "passing on the left/right." Listen for them and move to walk single file, allowing them to pass safely. Runners should also call out for passing. Bike-walker collisions can result in broken bones or head injury for either — and you aren't wearing a helmet.
6. Keep the Volume Down: Don't drown out your environment with portable music players. Keep the volume at a level where you can still hear bike bells and warnings from other walkers and runners.
7. Hang Up, Eyes Up: Chatting or texting on a mobile device while you walk is as dangerous as doing those things while driving. You are distracted and not aware of your environment. You are less likely to recognize traffic dangers, passing joggers and bikers or tripping hazards. Potential criminals may also see you as a distracted easy target.
8. Be Aware of Stranger Danger: Choose your walking route for paths frequented by other walkers, joggers, and bikers. If you see someone suspicious, be prepared to alter your course or go into a store or public building to avoid them. Acting alert and aware can convince bad guys you are not an easy target.
9. Stand Back: Stand at least 6 feet from an approaching school bus while waiting at a bus stop.
10. Be on time, and don't rush: Many children arriving late for the school bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic. Take care to be on time, but if you are running close to pick up, remember it is better to be late than injured.