Being a crossing guard means helping your community and keeping kids safe, but sometimes it includes close calls and danger. The last thing anyone wants is for a crossing guard or a child to be in harm’s way. That’s why we are talking to Whitney, a crossing guard from Vineyard, Utah, who can give us a little more insight and share tips to make school zones safer.
We reached out to Whitney because we saw her husband, Justin, making a plea on social media for drivers to be more careful and focused when driving, especially in school zones where a car came very close to hitting his wife. Justin says his biggest fear is hearing that Whitney or a child she crosses is involved in a crash. He says, “Whitney is a mother of seven, and we need her to come home safely.”
Whitney told us that she’s actually had several dangerous encounters with drivers as a crossing guard. She says most often that drivers are speeding in a school zone or distracted, sometimes both. She says, “We’re all in a hurry; we’re all trying to get to where we want to get safely, but please just watch out for the kids.”
So how do drivers keep crossing guards like Whitney and all kids safe? Here are three ways to increase safety as a driver in school zones.
- 1. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
Especially when you drive in the morning and in the late afternoon, watch for children. Those are peak times for kids to walk or bike back and forth to school.
- 2. Be Aware of School Zones
When you’re driving, watch for indications of a school zone. That might look like street signs, flashing lights or crossing guards in the area. Another indication is the types of crosswalks you encounter. If you see a crosswalk with a ladder design, that indicates you are entering or are in a school zone. These crosswalks are specifically used in school zones which mean drivers are not permitted to proceed through it until the pedestrian has completely crossed to the other side.
- 3. Put Distractions Away
Driving requires all of your attention to do it safely. Make sure that phones, passengers or any other potential distractions are not your focus while driving. Drive slow and intentional.
Whitney is very passionate about keeping the kids she works with safe. She told us that her favorite things about being a crossing guard are “Getting to talk to the kids, hearing their different stories and being a small part of their day.” We want to make sure that people like Whitney who make a positive impact are valued and protected. So next time you drive, keep Whitney and our three tips in mind to make the roads safer for everyone.