It’s a red-letter day for thousands of children throughout Wake and Johnston counties. The doors to the school house have been flung open and young people are free to enjoy a carefree summer, filled with running around, playing and, well, just doing whatever they want to do.
But it’s also a time when drivers in our community need to amp up their awareness, particularly as they drive through neighborhoods where we’ve grown accustomed to driving without the presence of children.
With school out for the summer, you can bet there will be balls thrown around in yards and that some of them will skip past the intended target and roll into the street. And you can bet, that, despite parents’ best intentions, those children will run heedlessly out into the street to retrieve the errant toy without regard to what oncoming traffic is closing in.
And you can bet that the freedom of summer will bring more young people on bicycles. For the most part, we suspect they will use sidewalks where they can, but there will be the inevitable street crossings and 11-year-olds simply aren’t always aware of the rules of the road.
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So, right or wrong, it’s up to those of us who drive to be extra cautious. Cast an extra look at children along your route to ensure they aren’t about to get in your way. Keep an eye not only on what’s in the roadway with you, but what’s along the side of the streets you’re traveling. Know what’s around you. Slow down. Yes, that’s a pain the neck, but it’s worth the extra time it takes to keep a child safe and to protect you from being involved in an accident that could scar you for life, if not physically then cerainly emotionally.
Summertime – especially for children – should be a carefree time. Let’s make sure we all do our part to keep it that way.