1) ’Look left, then right, then left again…’: The Green Cross Code may seem simple, but it equips children with easy to remember messages that will help to keep them safe. Repeating messages such as stopping when you get to the curb, ensuring all directions are clear of traffic before crossing and not running across roads will ensure these rules stick with them when navigating roads on their own.
2) Start them early: While your children might be too young to go out on their own right now, you can’t keep an eye on them forever, so teaching them the basic rules of road safety will ensure they are fully prepared when they get a bit older. Investing in a road safety play kit is another way of teaching your little ones all about road safety early on, as it allows you to act out situations in a safe environment. Put your lessons into practice when you’re out and about together by prompting them to show you what they have learnt – this will really get them thinking about their surroundings.
3) Dress to impress: Winter driving conditions can make children harder for drivers to spot, so it is important to make them as visible as possible, especially on dark nights. Avoid dark colours in favour of bright, light shades, and pop on a high visibility (hi-vis) jacket or reflective arm bands or bag tags before they go out, to ensure they stand out as much as possible.
4) Know your crossings: Chancing it across a busy road just isn’t worth the risk, so make sure your children know where designated pedestrian crossings are and how to use them. Take a walk around your area to show them how to use traffic lights, zebra crossings and pelican crossings properly so they will know how to cross safely when out on their own.
5) Don’t get distracted: Staying alert of your surroundings is key to staying safe, so it is important that you and your children aren’t using distractions such as mobile phones or headphones when they’re out and about.
6) On your bike! Cycling is a great way for the whole family to keep fit, providing it is done safely. Always wear a helmet, as well as protective guards for arms and legs, and stick to designated cycle routes where possible. If cycling on the main road is unavoidable, make sure you keep to the left at all times, stay alert and aware and make sure the brakes, horn and steering are all working properly before hitting the road. And most importantly, always make sure your bikes are equipped with lights and reflectors before you set off.
7) Buckle up: When driving, it is important that everyone is wearing their seatbelt – not only is this a legal requirement, but will help to keep you all safe should an accident occur. Before setting off on a journey, make sure all seatbelts are in full working order, and that everyone has fastened them correctly.
8) Keep safe in your car: There are also steps that you can take whilst driving to make the streets a safer place for pedestrians. Be aware of areas where more children might be, such as schools, playgroups and parks, and drive slowly and cautiously in these areas. Avoid overtaking parked buses where possible, as children may run out from behind these, and slow down during poor weather conditions as stopping distances are affected by rain, snow and ice.
9) Check functionality: As a driver you need to be confident that your vehicle is working properly before setting off on a journey. Check everything in your car is functioning correctly, no matter how short your journey might be, and make sure you perform regular checks on oil, windscreen wipers, screenwash, tyres, and lights.
10) Tread carefully: Your tyres are the only part of the vehicle in contact with the road, so it’s vital they are in good condition. Check that they have adequate tread (1.6mm is the minimum tread legally required) and look for any damage such as cuts, splits, bald patches or sidewall bulges. Check your tyre pressures regularly – cold temperatures can significantly decrease tyre pressures.
11) Take a snow day: The safest way to take care in snowy or icy conditions is to avoid driving altogether. However, if your journey is necessary, before setting out remove snow from the whole of the car and make sure all windows and lights are clean and clear of snow and ice. Slow down and keep a safe distance from the car in front.
12) Lead by example: A child’s parent or guardian is their greatest role model, so who better to set a good example of road safety than you? Show a safe and considered approach to road safety, and your child will follow suit in no time.
Michelin kindly sent me this winter survival kit to keep in the car should we get into any trouble due to adverse weather etc. How do you keep safe in the winter? Are there any tips that you think have been missed out? What is in your winter survival kit?
I was sent the Michelin winter survival kit for the purposes of this post. All opinions are my own. I am sharing the tips as they may help someone in the winter weather