Road safety expert suggests hi-vis for back to school

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As students across Queensland prepare to return to school for Semester 2, USC road safety expert Dr Bridie Scott-Parker is encouraging parents and care givers to consider purchasing hi-vis vests for themselves and their kids to boost pedestrian safety.

Dr Scott-Parker said a third of car crash fatalities in Queensland this year alone have involved pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

“Pedestrians and cyclists especially overestimate how visible they are to the traffic around them,” Dr Scott-Parker said.

“A hi-vis vest for the walk or the ride to school is a really simple step that mums and dads can take to keep them and their children even safer on the road.”

Dr Scott-Parker, who is a Senior Research Fellow and Leader of the Adolescent Risk Research Unit at USC, said the use of mobile phones – both by pedestrians and car drivers – adds another level of risk on the road.

“It’s really important for children to understand that just because there is a pedestrian crossing or there’s a little green man light flashing, that’s not an immediate pass to step out on the road,” Dr Scott-Parker said.

“We need to teach them to always make eye contact with the driver, smile and give a little wave and continue to look left and right, even while they’re on the crossing, just in case the driver is distracted,” she said.

“That direct eye contact can be the difference between a pedestrian getting hit or not.”

Dr Scott-Parker’s road safety tips for pedestrians:

•    Be sure the vehicle stops before you step onto a crossing, even if you have right of way or the green ‘walk’ sign is displayed
•    Make eye contact with the driver to make sure they’ve seen you before you cross the road
•    Always assume that drivers haven’t seen you before stepping on to the road. Hi-vis vests are a great way to improve your visibility
•    Put your phone down and keep your head up before you cross the road, no matter how old you are.

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