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Hold Hands Even When You Can’t: A Parent's Guide for Improving Crosswalk Safety


To a parent, the safety and well-being of their child is always top of mind. However, parents are pulled in many directions and can’t always hold their child’s hand through life, including when they're crossing the street. When they can’t, they must rely on their communities to ensure their child's safety.

Early estimates show pedestrian deaths spiked ten percent in 2015, the largest year-to-year increase on record, according to a recent statement released by the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The good news is this doesn’t have to remain the status quo. In fact, such deaths are preventable with the right education and technology. So, continue reading for a simple approach for how to improve crosswalk safety in your community.

A mother guides her child across a pedestrian crosswalk

Improve Education

Expanding education, whether in the classroom or the home, will teach children how to properly cross the road when an adult isn’t present. Here are some important crosswalk rules children should learn:

  • Never cross the road between parked cars; instead, always cross at the corners and crosswalks.
  • Always stop at the corner before stepping onto the road. This gives drivers the opportunity to see and react.
  • Listen for traffic before crossing the road, then look left, look right and look left once more to make sure it’s safe to cross.
  • When a driver does stop and gives the okay to cross in front of their car, be sure to look for oncoming traffic traveling the opposite direction. Remember, even though one driver stopped, others may not.

It’s important for parents to teach proper crosswalk safety every time they cross the road with their child. However, even if each child follows these crosswalk guidelines, their safety still remains in the hands of drivers.

Focus on Speed

Oftentimes, speed is the difference between life and death when a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle. That’s why school zones have posted school zone speed limit signs on main roads.

However, school officials are finding that, over time, static school zone speed limit signs are ignored by careless drivers, so they're turning to radar feedback signs to slow drivers down. According to one study, radar feedback signs often achieved their objective of reducing traffic speeds when displayed in school and work zones.

If speeding is a constant issue in your community, radar feedback signs may be an option to discuss with your local school board or city council.

Increase Crosswalk Visibility

When driving through an unfamiliar area, crosswalk intersections are low priorities for drivers navigating their way to a new destination.

Installing in-pavement LED markers at high-risk crosswalk intersections grab the much-needed attention of drivers who aren't aware of an approaching pedestrian crossing. This technology flashes bright LED lights embedded in the pavement outlining the crosswalk and are directly in the driver's line of sight.

The system automatically activates when a pedestrian starts walking in the crosswalk — perfect for when children bolt onto the road without looking.

Alert Everyone

There is always that one crosswalk in every community that causes concerns for parents; you know the one. These are the crosswalks that usually require a crossing guard before and after school to ensure the safety of each child. But the safety concern doesn't go away when the crossing guard punches out for the day.

RRFB installed at mid-block crossing

It's dangerous crosswalk intersections like these that require a Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon System (RRFB).

Federally proven to increase yielding by more than 80 percent at dangerous intersections, the RRFB system automatically activates when a pedestrian is using the crosswalk and flashes bright LED lights in a similar pattern to that of a police beacon.

When crosswalk education and awareness isn't enough to ensure the safety of children in your community, concerned parents need to have difficult discussions with local government officials about what technologies are potential solutions.

Remember, each crosswalk intersection is unique and requires an expert's eye to determine what solution is best for your neighborhood to protect the lives of our nation's children.

Is there a dangerous crosswalk in your community?
Don't wait for something to happen

Robert Kurka

TAPCO | Product Manager

With over a decade in business development, marketing and product management, Robert strives to improve transportation safety through innovation.

He is a pedestrian safety solutions expert who especially enjoys working with the TAPCO family to develop lifesaving products and solutions, such as the SafeWalk® Crosswalk Illuminator and the VizMark™ Pavement Marking Enhancement.

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