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Parents driving kids to school creates traffic risk, says authority

Congested roads and impatient drivers are a dangerous mix for children inexperienced in how to behave in traffic.

mies ja poika suojatiellä
Police remind motorists to pay particular attention to children on their way to school. Image: Annika Laaksonen / Yle

Parents should avoid driving children to school by car whenever possible, and instead encourage them walk or cycle, says Traffic Safety Manager Tuula Taskinen.

"This is an especially good idea if the school is nearby, the child is sufficiently mature and the route to has been safely completed with a parent. In this way, the child learns how to observe and move in traffic," adds Taskinen.

However, if a child has to be taken to school for one reason or another, it is better to leave the child a little farther away, for example a few hundred metres from the school, Taskinen advises.

"Parents do not necessarily take into account the fact that there may be hundreds of schoolchildren and that means hundreds more cars in traffic. It's a big risk for just about every child."

Leave home 5 or 10 minutes earlier

Osmo Korsikko, Chief Constable of the Eastern Finland Police Department, reminds motorists that small children may behave unpredictably in traffic.

"The number of small road users in the morning should be taken into account in good time, especially for schools. There are a lot of first grade children there, and children move like children. They still do not have a complete understanding of the rules of the road," Korsikko warns.

Korsikko cites the example of a pedestrian crossing, where cars are traveling in two different directions. Motorists sometimes decide not to give way to pedestrians if a car coming from the other direction does not slow down or stop at the crossing.

"There is an obligation on motorists to give way to a pedestrian on a pedestrian crossing," Korsikko advises.

According to Taskinen, hurry is often the enemy of road safety.

"I would now like to challenge people to leave for work five or, preferably, ten minutes earlier, so everyone would be much nicer on the road", Taskinen says.

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