Summer Road Safety

With all this unsettled weather we’ve been having, it’s hard to know what to do day by day, let alone what to do this summer and planning your family adventures.

Whether you are going on a long road trip or just hoping for a few days out over the summer holidays, sometimes travelling with kids (and adults) isn’t much fun. Long journeys can be challenging, but they are doable, and can be memorable. However, a little bit of planning beforehand may just help save your sanity.

Planning your perfect road trip can be stressful, but Leeds City Council’s Influencing Travel Behaviour Team is here to help. Here are some practical tips on how to make your journey and your summer holidays as successful as possible:

Preparation

  • Is your car road ready? Highways England recommend carrying out a few quick and easy checks to ensure you and your vehicle are safely equipped to drive.
  • If you are driving with kids, give them plenty of activities to do, especially if your destination is a long way from home.
  • Before you hit the road, make sure you have any child car seats fitted correctly. Check out the new laws on car seats here and see if you have the right size for your child.
  • Mobile phones / handheld devices – It is against the law to hold or use a handheld device whilst driving. Don’t be tempted – put them out of sight.
  • Familiarise yourself with the route – there’s nothing worse than getting lost to heighten tension within the vehicle. Don’t rely too heavily on your satnav – if it breaks then you need to have a rough idea of the route you will take.
  • Weather forecast – what is the weather like for your journey? When planning for a summer holiday, people often think to check the weather at their destination so they know how to pack and what kind of activities to prepare for. But how many people think to track the weather along their road trip?

Many may look at a national summary forecast to get a gist of their route’s weather, but this may not always be specific enough It’s good to have an idea of what the weather will be like along the route and at what time. This will help you consider if there is a need to plan in a stop if the weather gets too bad.

Are you having a Staycation?

Not everyone will be going away for the summer. There are many families who will choose to stay at home let their children play out with friends and explore their local surroundings.

‘Watch out for the kids! They’re everywhere!’

Parents

Being a parent is one of the most demanding jobs you can have. You are expected to keep your children happy and healthy, to keep them safe and out of harm’s way, whilst providing endless amounts of fun and entertainment. We have put together a few tips to help you and your family have a great summer.

  • Playing out – most kids will beg you to let them play out with their friends and it’s your decision to make. It can be a tough one as you will need to consider their development and weigh up the benefits of them being active and healthy with traffic and other hazards in your area.
  • When you decide to let your child play out independently, remind them about the importance of crossing safely using the Green Cross Code paying attention to the road. Help them to plan the safest possible route (along quiet, slow roads with pavements or traffic-free paths) to shops, the park or their friends’ houses.
  • Cycling – Cycling is an amazing way to spend quality time together as a family. Whatever the age of your children or grandchildren, you can enjoy cycling together. You can teach your child to ride a balance bike, or find exciting routes that challenge and excite your teenager, or nice family routes that will suit all the family. Why not check out these tried and trusted family friendly cycle routes – top 10 Yorkshire family bike rides?
  • In the Car – ensure all car checks are done and that the car seats are fitted correctly.

Drivers

I know what you’re thinking … that you’re a ‘good, safe driver’ but a little reminder won’t harm. Don’t forget many of the residential streets in and around Leeds are now 20mph. Now is a crucial time to adhere to those new speed limits – you could just save a child’s life.

There are so many distractions affecting both pedestrians and drivers. As a driver make sure your distractions are out of sight. Be prepared for and looking for those pedestrians who forget to look when they cross the road, because of their hand held devices or excitement at having freedom. If you’re driving, you are largely responsible for their safety. A child doesn’t have a chance against a 3,000-pound (or heavier) vehicle in the street.

The Influencing Travel Behaviour Team would like to ask all drivers to be extra careful this summer and take a little extra time to watch out for those children who aren’t going away on holiday, and who will be out and about with their friends, running, skating, scooting and cycling in the streets, parks and playgrounds.

And let’s not forget that kids are kids and they will ‘forget’ and ‘get distracted’ when they are out playing and it’s up to us as responsible drivers to drive at an appropriate speed for the conditions and with care and attention.  We’ve all been kids and know what it’s like to be allowed to play out without parental supervision. So we all know how easily they can be too occupied playing with their friends to remember all the road safety training they’ve had. It’s therefore up to us as responsible drivers to be aware of what is going on around us.

Summer Cycling

Have you considered leaving the car at home and exploring Yorkshire on your bicycle? How about taking the family out on some of our fantastic local cycle routes and explore what Leeds and the surrounding areas have to offer?

Leeds City Council has loads of information on how you can safely get about on your bike over the summer. Follow this link for planning your family outing – there is information on cycle routes, city centre bike storage, cycle loans, bike maintenance and information about cycle to work schemes.

There are also interactive maps which will help you find those hidden places which you didn’t know existed. Follow the link to view cycle routes using West Yorkshire’s interactive map or use the cycle journey planner to plan your route step by step.

Final thought

No one wants a summer holiday to be remembered for the wrong reasons. We want everyone to have great memories to go back to school or work with and stories to share with their friends and colleagues. So, have a fun summer of walking, cycling, or away days and let us know what you get up to by following us and tweeting your sustainable activities @SaferRoadsLeeds.

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