As the roads are very busy nowadays, we should be very careful when crossing one. It is safer to use a pedestrian crossing or an overhead bridge whenever one is available. Never cross a road by dashing across it. That is inviting trouble. If there are no crossings, then we must look carefully right and left and cross only when it is safe to do so.
Some of us take the bus to school. It is important that we do not try to get on or off a bus while it is still moving. I tried to get on a moving bus once. It dragged me a short distance and nearly ran over me. I was lucky to escape with only some scratches on my legs. Also we must not fool around while in the bus. A suddenly lurch can send us knocking our heads against something hard.
Using a bicycle can be dangerous too. We must pay attention on the road and never cycle too far out to the middle of the road. We must obey all traffic rules. Also we must make sure our bicycles are in good condition with working brakes, lights etc.
These are some things we can do to avoid accidents. However there is no guarantee that we will never be involved in one. The important thing is to stay alert at all times while using the roads. We must know what is happening around us. In that way we can take necessary action to avoid danger whenever we see one. Road safety is very much up to how we use the roads. Use them carefully and we may be able to use them for a long time. Use them carelessly and we may never be able to use them again.
What can we do to improve road safety for children and adolescents?
1.2 million die in road accidents each year. A child is killed in an accident every three minutes. Road safety is increasingly becoming a major killer and a worldwide concern, particularly for young people. What can we do to address the issue?
The media has been a largely overlooked factor in creating road safety awareness. Celebrity endorsements, coupled with television messages on prime-time slots and peer education programmes would provide an accessible and engaging means of promoting awareness, particularly among young people. They would convey the message that safe driving is “cool” driving, and constantly reinforce that drunken driving, using a cell phone on the road and driving without a seatbelt (or helmet) are not only dangerous, but “seriously unfashionable.” Celebrities could also actively encourage walking or cycling whenever and wherever possible.
Role-plays, “make-believe” situations, movies and field trips could be used as effective learning tools for children at school. Safe Road User awards at the school level would provide an incentive for many children to follow road safety rules. Road safety education programmes can also be extended to adults at the workplace, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. This would hold particular importance for parents, and efforts must be made to involve them as much as possible.
Legislation and policies
There is a need for stricter licensing laws, particularly with regard to public transport operators. Laws could require prominent display of the driver’s license on his/her vehicle while driving, in addition to safety regulations (such as adequate maintenance and the use of the seatbelt) and random breath testing policies. Policies could provide for the creation of better roads and pavements, supervised playing areas for children and monitored crossings near schools.
Infrastructure and technology
Citizens must campaign for safer, wider roads and better sidewalks to limit accidents. Speed governors in each vehicle would provide a low-cost solution to speeding. There is also a need to provide well-maintained, safe and efficient public transport systems, particularly in developing nations. Fingerprint identification systems, similar to those in laptop computers, could be used in each vehicle, with each vehicle responding only to a programmed set of fingerprints.
For any effective change in the safety of our roads, however, we need to consciously change our attitudes towards providing safer roads- not just for ourselves or for young people, but for everyone.
First UN Global Road Safety Week (23 - 29 April 2007)
World Youth Assembly
As part of the activities for the “First UN Global Road Safety Week”, the World Health Organization and UNICEF invited children from all over the world to participate in a creative writing competition on the theme: What can be done to improve road safety for children and Young People?
The competition was for young people aged 10 to 24 years and evaluation criteria depended on the creative expression and how well the theme of the competition was expressed.
Sixteen year old Anupama Kumar from India won first prize and attended the World Youth Assembly to receive her award. As part of her prize, her essay will be published in the upcoming WHO/UNICEF World report on child and adolescent injury prevention. You can read more about this competition on the UNICEF Website. Winning Essay