Safe2Drive Blog

10/3/2022

Can Kids Still Walk to School?

by Courtney Conley

Parents, it’s time for some real talk--is there anything worse than the school car rider line? It’s a microcosm of the worst traffic jam you’ve been stuck in, and it happens every day. Twice a day! Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones and your school has a functional, speedy drop-off system, but parents on social media hilariously suggest that’s not the norm.

School Crossing

Not only is the school drop-off line a test of anyone’s patience, it’s not even the best way to get kids to and from school. Each October, schools around the country participate in Walk, Bike and Roll to School Day. Why? Keep reading to find out.

Why is it good to walk to school?

While the car rider line drama is certainly up there, it’s only one of the reasons walking to school is a good idea.

  1. It’s better for the environment! Of course, the fewer vehicles we have on the roads, the better.
  2. Walking makes for easier commutes. When kids are walking to school, parents and caregivers aren’t adding additional vehicles on the roadway. Everyone gets to their destination a little faster!
  3. Walking is inexpensive. Everything costs more these days, especially gas. Walking to school even once or twice a week can help you save money you’d otherwise spend at the gas station.
  4. Make new friends! Adults and kids alike can benefit from walking to school because it’s a great way to make new friends in your neighborhood that you normally wouldn’t see while stuck in your cars in the drop-off line. Parents can walk to and from school together to keep an eye on their kids and to make good conversation with other adults.
  5. Fresh air and exercise is a great way for any of us to start our day. Kids are more alert after a nice walk.

When can kids walk to school?

In general, children shouldn’t walk to school without adult supervision until they are at least ten years old, though this will vary depending on the child, neighborhood, and other factors.

One of the ways communities help keep kids safe on their walk to school is by forming walking school buses! A walking school bus is just like a regular school bus, but the bus "driver" is a bus "walker!"

Walking school buses require no additional funding when parents and staff members volunteer to lead the walking school bus a few times a week. These programs have the potential to increase activity levels, teach kids about traffic safety, and provide strong community support. The National Center for Safe Routes to School provides a helpful guide for those interested in starting a Walking School Bus program in their community.

Safety Tips for Walkers

Safety is a huge concern when it comes to children walking to school. In 2020, there were 177 child pedestrians killed in traffic crashes. Another 5,223 child pedestrians were injured in traffic crashes that year.

Seventy-eight percent of these happened in urban areas, and the majority of child pedestrians were killed during daylight hours.

These are some scary statistics. Children need to learn about traffic safety early and often. Here are some safety tips to go over with your kids:

  • Make sure children have appropriate supervision when walking to school. If your child is old enough to walk without an adult, make sure they’re still walking with a group of other children.
  • Only cross the street at an intersection or marked pedestrian crosswalk.
  • Teach children to follow the instructions of route leaders and crossing guards. Make sure they’re using their "listening ears!"
  • Use the sidewalk. Do not teach children that it’s okay to cross in the middle of the street, even if you’re there to cross it with them. If they think it’s okay to cross in the middle of the street with an adult, they’re more likely to cross in the middle of the street on their own.
  • Never stand in the street when waiting to cross or waiting for the school bus. Stand on the sidewalk or as far back from the street as possible while waiting to cross.

Get involved in your community! Safe sidewalks, accessible pedestrian signals at intersections, and well-maintained walking routes are just a few ways communities can get together to help kids walk to school safely.

Safety Tips for Drivers

Kids can be unpredictable and impulsive. Sure, it’s easy to stop at an intersection and let pedestrians cross, but 62% of child pedestrians were killed at locations other than intersections in 2020. Drivers need to pay more attention and be ready to stop at any point when children are around.

Here are some safety tips for drivers:

  • Know and follow the school bus laws in your state. An average of 113 people were killed in school-transportation-related crashes from 2011 to 2020. While school bus laws are pretty consistent throughout the country, there are some small differences depending on your state. Check out our guide to school bus laws by state here.
  • Never drive distracted in school zones or any area where children may be present.
  • Children have a narrower field of vision than adults, which means they may not always see your vehicle approaching. Never assume children will see you or even pay attention to you at all.
  • Children also have a harder time judging a car’s speed and distance. They are more likely to dart in front of you thinking they have plenty of time. Slow down and be ready to stop.
  • Don’t assume an adult will grab a child in time. Just because there are adults around doesn’t mean a kid won’t run into the street with no warning, and it’s up to you to make sure you’re paying attention and ready for anything that could happen.

Together, we can make walking to school a healthy and safe part of the experience of growing up.

Want to learn more?

Are you looking for defensive driving and traffic school courses? Do you want a discount on your auto insurance? Are you a mature driver interested in a discount on your auto insurance? Do you have a teen who’s ready to take an online driver education course?

Safe2Drive is here to help! We offer convenient online courses for drivers of any age! Visit our website today to learn about the online courses we offer in your state.

Parents, it’s time for some real talk--is there anything worse than the school car rider line? It’s a microcosm of the worst traffic jam you’ve been stuck in, and it happens every day. Twice a day! Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones and your school has a functional, speedy drop-off system, but parents on social media hilariously suggest that’s not the norm.

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9/26/2022

How to Keep Kids Safe in the Car

by Courtney Conley

Each year, the fourth Saturday in September is US National Seat Check Saturday. This is a day where caretakers of children are encouraged to review child safety restraint standards to ensure that child passengers are in the right seat for their age and size. In 2020, around 42% of children killed in traffic collisions were not properly restrained. This is based on known restraint use; the number could be higher. In fatal collisions where the driver was unrestrained, 65% of child passengers were also unrestrained.

Children need to be in the correct seat and seating position based on their size and age. Even though laws will vary slightly from state to state, there are national safety standards you can follow. Here’s what you need to know about child safety seats.

Child Seat

Types of Car Seats

There are four types of car seats available for children. The perfect seat for your child passenger will depend on their size and age.

  1. Rear-facing seats: This seat is designed for children from birth to about three years of age. Children should be kept in rear-facing seats as long as possible. Check the height and weight limit for your car seat to determine if it’s safe for the child to stay rear-facing. Even if the child’s legs begin to touch the seat while they’re rear-facing, it’s best to keep them in that position until they reach the height or weight limit for the seat.
  2. Forward-facing seats: Once a child has outgrown their rear-facing seat, the next step is a forward-facing seat with a harness and tether. The child should be kept in this seat until they reach the height or weight limit for the seat. Smaller children may need a forward-facing seat until around seven years of age.
  3. Booster seats: When the child reaches the height or weight limit for their forward-facing seat, they need to use a booster seat. Booster seats are needed until the child is big enough for a seat belt.
  4. Seat belt: The final stage is the seat belt. Children are ready for seat belts when the lap belt fits snugly across their upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits snugly across the chest without crossing their neck or face.

Children should ride in the backseat of the vehicle, even once they’re big enough for a seat belt. The impact from an air bag deploying could seriously injure a child. In general, children under age 13 should stay in the backseat, though smaller children should stay in the backseat until it’s safe, even after age 13.

How to Choose a Child Seat

Now that you know the types of child safety seats out there, it’s time to pick the appropriate one for your child passenger! Keep in mind that unlike many things, car seats might not be suitable as hand-me-downs from older siblings or other children.

Car seats come with an expiration date, which is typically about six years after it was manufactured. Even if it hasn’t reached the expiration date yet, the car seat may not be safe for reuse. If the car seat was in a vehicle that was involved in a collision, you shouldn’t reuse it. If it is damaged in any way (including wear and tear on the straps), it can’t be reused.

You don’t need to invest in the priciest car seat on the market in order to keep your child passenger safe. All car seats on the market must meet the same safety standards. That being said, there are other factors that affect car seat safety.

Car seats need to be installed correctly in order to be effective. Some car seats are more difficult to fit into specific types of vehicles than other car seats. NHTSA provides a free online tool to help you find a car seat based on how easy it is to use.

How to Know If Your Car Seat is Installed Correctly

Even the perfect seat can fail if it’s not installed correctly. Make sure you read the instructions that come with your car seat before you attempt to install it. For visual learners, do a quick YouTube search for tutorials on how to install the exact car seat you’ve purchased.

In order to be 100% sure you’ve installed your car seat correctly, you can visit a car seat inspection station. There are many options to choose from, and most of the time the service is free. Certified technicians can help you inspect the car seat and make sure you’re using it correctly. You can search for a car seat inspection station near you using NHTSA’s Car Seat Inspection Database.

If you’re using the same car seat in multiple vehicles, be sure you’re installing it correctly each time. You’ll likely need to make a few adjustments as you move the seat between vehicles.

Are you looking for defensive driving and traffic school courses? Do you want a discount on your auto insurance? Are you a mature driver interested in a discount on your auto insurance? Safe2Drive isn’t just for teen drivers. We offer convenient online courses for many occasions! Visit our website today to learn about the online courses we offer in your state.

Each year, the fourth Saturday in September is US National Seat Check Saturday. This is a day where caretakers of children are encouraged to review child safety restraint standards to ensure that child passengers are in the right seat for their age and size. In 2020, around 42% of children killed in traffic collisions were not properly restrained. This is based on known restraint use; the number could be higher. In fatal collisions where the driver was unrestrained, 65% of child passengers were also unrestrained.

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9/19/2022

Child Passenger Safety Week

by Courtney Conley

Here’s a devastating statistic: collisions are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. Almost 140,000 children were injured in collisions in 2020, and over 1,000 children were killed in collisions that same year. This week, NHTSA wants drivers to focus on keeping children safe in the car.

In this case, children includes anyone age 14 and under.

Alcohol-Impaired-Driving Collisions

An average of three children were killed in collisions every day in 2020. Of the children who were killed that year, about 21% of the collisions were alcohol-related.

The majority of children who died in alcohol-impaired collisions (57%) were passengers in a vehicle driven by a drinking driver. Fifty-six percent of those children were not properly restrained.

Twenty-eight percent were passengers in other vehicles and were involved in a collision with a drinking driver.

Alcohol

Any time someone drives with a mind-altering substance in their system, or a substance that impacts their physical abilities, they’re a danger to others. When they still choose to drive even though they have children in the car, they’re putting an innocent child’s life at risk. An adult can choose not to get in the car with a driver who has been drinking or using drugs, but children don’t have the same choice, especially if the driver is their parent or another authority figure.

Every state has laws prohibiting alcohol-impaired driving. Some states have increased penalties for drinking drivers with child passengers. For example, New York passed a law in 2009 that imposes stricter penalties for drinking drivers when a child under age 16 is a passenger in the vehicle. This is called "Leandra’s Law," in honor of 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, who was killed in a crash in a vehicle driven by the intoxicated mother of her friend in October 2009. In New York, drivers who commit alcohol-related offenses with a child in the vehicle may be charged with a class E felony, punishable by up to 4 years in prison.

Never drive impaired. Keep tabs on your children and make sure they’re never getting in a car with a drinking driver.

Are you looking for defensive driving and traffic school courses? Do you want a discount on your auto insurance? Are you a mature driver interested in a discount on your auto insurance? Safe2Drive isn’t just for teen drivers. We offer convenient online courses for drivers of any age! Visit our website today to learn about the online courses we offer in your state.

Here’s a devastating statistic: collisions are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. Almost 140,000 children were injured in collisions in 2020, and over 1,000 children were killed in collisions that same year. This week, NHTSA wants drivers to focus on keeping children safe in the car.

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9/12/2022

Are Online Driver Education Courses Worth It?

by Courtney Conley

I completed my driver education course in a stuffy old classroom at my high school. I was excited and nervous to start the 24 hours of classroom instruction required in Ohio. There was so much information to learn! I tried taking notes, but the teacher moved through the content so fast that I felt like I was falling behind. After a long school day, the hours spent in the driver education classroom were a blur. After class, I would go home and research driver education content on my own, then complete my regular homework.

Not everyone benefits from face-to-face learning. Some students need a little more time to absorb the content. Others have a hard time paying attention in a traditional classroom. For me, it was easier to learn at my own pace, rather than trying to keep up with everyone else. An online driver education course would have been the perfect option for me as a teen.

This week, we’re celebrating National Online Learning Day. Online learning is more common now in the post-2020 world, but many people are, understandably, apprehensive about online learning. If you’re unsure if online driver education courses are worth it for your family, keep reading!

Teen Learning Online

Why You Should Take An Online Driver Education Course

1. Online driver education courses are self-paced.

When you take one of our online driver education courses, you have the opportunity to complete the course at a pace that works for you. You’ll still need to spend the minimum amount of time your state requires on each lesson, but you also have the opportunity to spend more time on the topics you need a little help with.

You don’t have to struggle to take notes while also keeping up with the rest of the class. Online driver education courses allow you to go back through the material as much as you need in order to prepare you for your license. For example, if you’re a pro at recognizing traffic signs, but you’re unsure about parallel parking, you can spend more time exploring parallel parking until you’re a pro at that too!

2. Online driver education courses are great for visual learners, auditory learners, and reading/writing learners.

Everyone learns differently. This is one of the setbacks in traditional classrooms--it’s harder to cater to each student’s learning type at the same time. There are many types of learners, and most of us are a combination of a few or all of them. Some examples of learning types include:

  • Visual learners: those who benefit from visual representations of the lesson content (e.g., charts, illustrations, and pictures. These students will often doodle during class, and greatly benefit from seeing examples rather than reading about them.
  • Auditory learners: those who learn best when listening to information rather than reading it or visualizing it. Auditory learners often benefit from repeating information aloud to themselves, rather than taking notes.
  • Reading and writing learners: those who prefer to learn from reading texts and responding to them in writing. These learners like to read material on their own and condense it into their own words in their notes.

There’s only so much a teacher can do when standing at the front of a traditional classroom. I remember struggling in math class during lectures, but when I was able to talk through the problem out loud to myself while doing my homework, solving the equations was much easier for me.

We keep different types of learners in mind while designing our online driver education courses by including elements suited for each type of learner. We present content in several different ways by including written lecture material, charts, illustrations, pictures, videos, games, and slideshows. Students have the opportunity to consume the same information in multiple ways throughout the course.

For example, our videos are narrated to present clear information for our auditory learners. The videos often include illustrations and demonstrations for visual learners. For our reading/writing learners, we include a bullet point summary of important topics discussed in the video. This style of teaching allows different learners to absorb the content in the way that works best for them.

3. You can take an online driver education course wherever you are.

This is one of the best perks of online driver education courses. Rather than staying at school after hours to learn in another classroom or spending a Saturday in class, students can complete our online driver education courses from wherever they have an internet connection. Our courses are optimized to work on any device. Whether you’re at home using your PC or on the bus using your iPhone, you’ll be able to complete your online driver education course at a time that’s convenient for you.

If for some reason there’s a hiccup while taking the course, you can speak to our customer service team. You won’t be sitting on hold talking to robots--our customer service representatives are real people here to help you 7 days a week.

National Online Learning Day is an awesome way to celebrate all the benefits of online learning. We hope this article helped ease any concerns you may have about online driver education courses. If you or your teen are ready to take an online driver education course, visit our website to register today! Want some more information? We got you. Check out our website for more information on our online driver education courses.

Pssst. Are you looking for defensive driving and traffic school courses? Do you want a discount on your auto insurance? Are you a mature driver interested in a discount on your auto insurance? Safe2Drive isn’t just for teen drivers. We offer convenient online courses for drivers of any age! Visit our website today to learn about the online courses we offer in your state.

I completed my driver education course in a stuffy old classroom at my high school. I was excited and nervous to start the 24 hours of classroom instruction required in Ohio. There was so much information to learn! I tried taking notes, but the teacher moved through the content so fast that I felt like I was falling behind. After a long school day, the hours spent in the driver education classroom were a blur. After class, I would go home and research driver education content on my own, then complete my regular homework.

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