To make the way to school safe

As September approaches and when planning children's schooling, the insurance company ERGO together with the director of "Drošas Braukšanas Skolas" (DBS) Jānis Vankas reminds us what should be taken into account so that the way to school is safe and the child is protected.

According to the preliminary data at the disposal of the Ministry of Education and Science, approximately 21.5 thousand first-graders will go to school this year, for whom independent participation in road traffic will be a first-time event.

Their parents, as well as the mothers and fathers of other students, are advised to discuss the principles of road safety with their children before the start of the new school year, because, according to CSDD data*, the most road accidents involving children-pedestrians occur in autumn: in October (21 victims ) and in September (14 victims); as well as in winter: in February (12 victims). These accidents occur more often on Thursdays and Fridays, but with regard to the time of day - immediately after the end of primary school classes from 12.00 to 14.00, as well as in the evening, when extracurricular classes often end - from 18.00 to 20.00.

In addition, parents should remember that a child under the age of seven must not be on the street alone or without the presence of a person at least 13 years old. Children under the age of 16 are prohibited from being in public places without the presence of adults between 10:00 p.m. and 06:00 a.m.

Children's safety is the responsibility of parents

According to DBS director Jānis Vanks, it is the parents who are responsible for ensuring that the child gets to school, home, and extracurricular activities safely and is not involved in traffic accidents.

Questions to discuss with the child before going to school:

Discuss and walk together on the way to school: where are the public transport stops, which streets should you walk on, where and how can you cross the carriageway. Attention should also be paid to this conversation if the child has recently started school at a new school, or the family has changed their place of residence - make sure that the child orients himself on the new route. If your child walks to school, do the route with him on the first days of school, both ways. If you go to school by public transport, walk the route to the public transport stop.
Even if the road is known, it is better to make sure that there are no new obstacles, such as a new construction site or a so-called "blind spot" - a place from which the street is not clearly visible. Also estimate the intensity of cyclists and scooters on the given road section.

How to cross the street correctly
It is safest to plan the route in such a way that you do not have to cross the streets at all, but if you have to do this, remember that you must cross the street at a pedestrian crossing - preferably one that is regulated by a traffic light. Explain how to behave at a pedestrian crossing: stop, first look to the left, then to the right and make sure that the drivers have noticed the pedestrian before walking. It is recommended to make eye contact with the driver - if there is eye contact, it means that the driver has noticed the pedestrian and can cross the street.

Do not take your eyes off the road
Listening to music in headphones, playing games on the phone, intensive conversations with friends distract the child's attention and can endanger his life, therefore, when walking down the street, these activities should be avoided and attention should be focused on what is happening around.

Bicycle as a means of transportation
If the student uses a bicycle to get to the school, assess what the bicycle infrastructure is like on the particular route. Plan the route together and do it together - estimate the height of curbs, mileage and access points. It should be remembered that when crossing the driving part of the street, it is advisable to get off the bicycle. Evaluate where and how the bicycle will be stored during the lessons - is there a bicycle parking space near the school.
For safety, the child must wear a helmet, elbow and knee pads. It should be remembered that when riding a bicycle or a bicycle scooter, it is not allowed to use headphones that distract attention and do not allow you to hear the warning signals of cars, including emergency vehicles.

If we take the child to school by car
First, plan to go to school on time so that there are no traffic jams on the streets. Secondly, the child should be let out of the car on the sidewalk, not on the driving part of the street. The car should not be parked too close to the pedestrian crossing, otherwise other, moving cars may not notice the children crossing the pedestrian crossing. When waiting for a child after hours, the rules must also be followed - do not let the child wait for you by standing too close to the driving part. Agree on where the boarding point will be so that the child knows which way to go. Remember that children are excited and may run across the street when they see their classmates across the street. Discuss these potential situations and remind them not to do it.
Remember that the safest place for a child is in the back of the car, preferably in the right rear seat of the car. And, of course, the child must be fastened with a seat belt in the car.

To school by public transport
Create a route so that when getting off public transport, the child does not have to cross a two-lane street, because pedestrian crossings on such streets are very dangerous. Remember to cross the street slowly at the pedestrian crossing, looking both ways.

Reflective clothing
Autumn evenings get dark quickly, so it is important that a reflector, lamp or reflector is attached to the child's clothing. Also, bright, colorful clothing will make the pedestrian more visible.

Dark winter time
It should be remembered that when crossing the street in the dark, it will be much more difficult to make eye contact with the driver. Be sure to discuss the effects of weather on traffic, such as how rain or ice affects braking speed and distance. Explain that during this period the car cannot brake quickly at the pedestrian crossing, so the pedestrian must cross the street even more slowly than usual.

ERGO and DBS wishes everyone a happy September 1 and a safe school!

*CSDD data "Number of injured (dead and injured) children - pedestrians in 2020."

About ERGO
ERGO is one of the leading insurance groups in the Baltic region, offering a wide range of insurance services, including non-life, life and health insurance. 650,000 clients in the Baltic countries trust ERGO's services, expert knowledge and financial stability.
ERGO insurance companies in the Baltics belong to the ERGO Insurers group, which is one of the largest groups in Germany and Europe. ERGO is represented in more than 30 countries of the world, focusing on business in Europe and Asia. ERGO's shareholder is Munich Re, one of the largest reinsurers and risk managers in the world.