Protection for Children At Play

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by | Aug 1, 2016 | Horn Law News

Crash lawyer Douglas R. Horn, Lead Attorney of The Horn Law Firm, is a safety advocate who frequently publishes driver safety alerts, especially in the areas of distracted driving prevention, teen driver protection, and traffic fatality reduction.

In my experience, the most tragic traffic fatalities are the accidents that involve children pedestrians. In this regard, it is not uncommon for children who are playing near a yard, park, or playground to wind up in the street without regard to crossing motor vehicle traffic. While I am aware that it can be difficult for motorists to prevent these types of accidents, especially in a “child dart out” circumstance, I hope these tips help drivers be more vigilant in keeping a careful lookout for children at play.

  1. Drive in “Child Safety Mode”

Whenever driving in a reduced speed zone, such as in a residential area, it is wise to drive in what I refer to as ‘child safety mode’. This means to anticipate that children may be more apt to being in the street either on foot or a bicycle. When, as a driver, you alert yourself to the possibility of a child being suddenly in the street, you are better prepared to brake or take another evasive maneuver to avoid a child at play.

Also, there are other areas that also require drivers to be more cognizant of children at play, such as areas around parks, swimming pools, and playgrounds. Often these areas are heavily landscaped which means the risks dramatically increase.

  1. Beware of Your Blind Spots

Many cars have a blind spot that prevents visibility of vehicles or pedestrians who are approaching from the right (or passenger side) of the vehicle. This blind spot is created by the “A” pillar, also known as the windshield pillar. Often, this pillar, in combination with the side view mirror, causes children to be lost within the blind spot.

To compensate for this blind spot it is necessary for drivers to more attentive to their right sided scan. Holding your right sided attention just a touch longer may allow the child to move out of your blind spot.

Knowing your vehicle’s blind spots, coupled with a cautious speed, are important aspects of developing a more defensive approach to driving.

  1. Absolutely No Distractions

Just a quick glace off the road can prove very dangerous when driving in an area frequented by children.

I recommend glove boxing your phone anytime you are behind the wheel, but it is particularly important to do this when you are driving in “child safety mode”. The phone is not the only attention stealer, but it is a leading cause in reducing a driver’s reaction time to avoiding wayward pedestrians, including children who are entering the street.