Parents Can Dramatically Affect Their Children’s Future Safety by the Example they Set

People with children know how much their little ones like to emulate the things that parents do, whether it is an older sister trying to mother her younger siblings or a son playing ball with his daddy.

I took this photograph with my cellphone a few days ago, while parked and waiting for somebody. The mother has left her distracted little girl behind on what is a busy, parking lot road, with both of them seemingly oblivious to the danger. (Copyright image, 2019.)

For better or for worse, children also faithfully copy what they see their parents do on the roads, whether this is in a vehicle or as pedestrians (and this is research, incidentally, not just our opinion).

The photograph above was taken as described in the caption but I had seen the same family entering the building a few minutes earlier, that time with the little girl still engrossed in her cellphone but with the mother pulling her along by one arm. Even that scenario had me concerned because it would have been a good opportunity to teach the child that its important never to be distracted when crossing a road. However, at that point I was too slow to grab my camera and get a photograph. But when they came back out the situation was even worse, as the picture shows.

Sadly, there was clearly no chance of this little girl being taught always to stop at a roadside, look left, look right, look left again, and then cross carefully if the road was clear, and keep looking and listening for danger as she crossed.

The video clip above is from Britain (but remember they drive on the left and have footballs that are round!). This is just one recent, national television commercial from an ever-updated campaign that has gone on for decades

Here’s a question for all readers: How much part does the inadequate teaching of safety when crossing roads — either from parents or from governmental safety bodies — play in America’s very high road-death toll and in the catastrophically high number of pedestrian killed in the USA each year? It must surely be a factor, and possibly a very big factor.

Exactly the same goes for parents ALWAYS wearing seatbelts in vehicles — front seats and rear when applicable, and even when just going down your own driveway to check the mailbox before going to the store. Anytime a child sees a parent with no seatbelt, it gives them a reason or an excuse or a belief that a belt isn’t ALWAYS needed. But it is!

And the same goes for not getting angry with other drivers. Why teach your kids that road rage is sometimes acceptable?

There are scores of things that could potentially harm your child, or worse, on any road so please take the time to think things through. If you wouldn’t like your children to copy what you do when driving or walking, then don’t do it! Your good example at all times could quite literally save your child’s life in the future.

And what is needed from governmental bodies? Well just one of those things is an ongoing, research-based and target driven program of suitable PSA videos. The next clip below shows short excerpts from many of the child-targeted videos from Britain over the last 50+ years.

If ever you have questions about any aspect of road safety for your family, please come back to this Advanced Drivers of North America website ( and use the Contact Us form to ask. If we do not know a particularly technical answer, we will know somebody who does.

As with our defensive driving and advanced driving courses, everything we do is research-based and/or best-practise driven because — no matter how well intended — mere opinion can be a very dangerous source in road safety issues.


Please be aware that this website is registered with the United States Copyright Office and that punitive legal action for damages may be taken against anyone who breaches our copyright. This, however, does not stop you from posting links to any of our pages, and you are welcome to do so.

The two THINK! videos on this page are clearly not covered by our ADoNA copyright.

Drivers in Pick-up Trucks or SUVs are More Likely to Kill Pedestrians

There’s a new report out from the Governors’ Highway Safety Association [GHSA] regarding major increases in the numbers of pedestrians being killed on the roads of the USA, and one of the reasons given for this very regrettable situation is the involvement of pick-up trucks and SUVs.

The high, solid fronts of pick-up trucks and SUVs cause devastating and often fatal injuries to pedestrians and cyclists. By comparison, cars — with their sloping hoods and increased engineering to be safer in collisions with vulnerable road users — are much less likely to kill. (Copyright image, 2017.)

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Far Too Many Pedestrian Deaths on the Roads of the USA, 2018

It is human nature that if we consider it at all, we tend to think only about ourselves when it comes to highway safety, primarily the chances of us or our loved ones being killed or seriously injured in a car crash. But pedestrians represent about one in six of all people killed on America’s roads and we are all pedestrians at times.

Jay walkers crossing a street.
Hands up anyone who has never crossed a road where we shouldn’t have, quite possibly because we just couldn’t be bothered to walk to a crosswalk. As people get older we might get a bit wiser about this everyday occurrence but then age itself can make it harder to walk all the way to a proper crossing and perhaps all the way back on the other side. This, together with worsening reaction times, can turn the simple act of crossing a street into something deadly. Copyright image, 2018.

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Ideal Mixed (Bad!) Weather Conditions for a Gold Advanced Driving Course

Of all the different levels of driver training we provide at Advanced Drivers of America [AD0NA], “Gold” courses are often the most gratifying because we can guide and watch people achieving the highest levels of safety — far above the standards that other drivers are even aware of.

The very first driving day (following a full day in a classroom setting) was by far the most challenging for the weather, but while this isn’t always available, the snow was an ideal addition for the purposes of a gold-standard, maximum safety, advanced driving course. Copyright image.

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Is this the Beginning of the End for Risky Right-Turns-on-Red?

Allowing drivers in the USA to turn-right-on-red increased cases of pedestrians and bicycles being struck by 43-123 percent, and many of these collisions have resulted in injuries.

A post today on Facebook, from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety [IIHS], pleasingly caught our attention when they confirmed the inescapable conclusion that research has shown that allowing drivers to turn right on red can put pedestrians at risk. There is a very blunt American expression involving ‘Sherlock’ that sums up the situation perfectly!

Whenever drivers who are turning right-on-red take their attention away from either of the two crosswalks they are typically about to cross — usually while looking for vehicles coming from the left — pedestrians are put in danger….. End of story! (Copyright image, 2018.)

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Williamsville, NY, is Taking a Lead in Pedestrian Safety in the USA

The new press-button, gantry-style traffic signals on a new, mid-block crosswalk in Williamsville, NY. (Copyright image, 2018.)

With just over 6,000 pedestrian deaths a year [re 2017, NHTSA], the USA sadly has a very poor record in protecting people on foot.

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In Massachusetts You are Meant to Wave to Drivers at Crosswalks!

We presume the instruction for pedestrians to ‘wave’ before going over crosswalks in Great Barrington, MA, means they should make eye-contact with the drivers of approaching vehicles.  But will it work?

On each end of the crosswalks in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, is the instruction for pedestrians to 'Stop, Look, and Wave!!
‘Stop, Look & Wave’ is the instruction on crosswalks in Gt Barrington, MA. (Copyright image, 2018.)

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More and Better Crosswalks in the USA Would Save Many Lives

Just a few days ago, on June 11, 2018, NYSDOT Acting Commissioner Paul Karas announced a $62 million investment in the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, here in our own home state of New York .   This multi-agency initiative will include the Department of Health, DMV, Capital District Transportation Authority and local enforcement agencies.  This is, of course, to be warmly welcomed, but let’s get straight to the point, the USA has a stunningly bad track record for pedestrian injuries and deaths, with almost exactly six thousand being killed nationwide, and a vastly greater number being injured, during the last statistical year alone.

Photograph of a crosswalk location sign in the USA
Crosswalk location sign, USA. (Copyright image, 2012.)

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Uber Prototype Self-Driving Car Kills Pedestrian — Wild Claims about Who or What is at Fault!

A pedestrian being hit and killed by an autonomous vehicle in Tempe, Arizona, on Sunday, March 18, 2018, was certainly destined to create a big response from the media and many have published their views regarding the sad incident.

The problem is, though, that many people have speculated inappropriately on the matter, including — it has to be said — the police chief in Tempe.  So let’s make one important point straight away:  The only relevant decision regarding blame for this or any other tragic incident clearly lies solely with the courts.  Publishing unsubstantiated or wildly inaccurate opinions before any trial can only serve to affect the opinions of subsequent jurors and even officials — a highly undesirable situation.  (In other countries this is the law — often referred to as Sub Judice — but sadly for the most accurate justice that is not the case in the USA.)

Before considering some of the comments, let’s take a look at the in-car video, apparently published by Tempe Police and then ABC7, since the incident:

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Global NCAP tells Donald Trump to Make ‘America First’ in Pedestrian Protection

In response to President Donald Trump’s claim last week that a so called ‘bowling ball’ test is preventing US automobiles from entering the Japanese market, Global NCAP has written to the US President urging him to make ‘America First’ in pedestrian protection by adopting the same global standard applied by Japan…

Photo of a crash test dummy reading a mock book: Crash Testing for Dummies
Photo: Global NCAP

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