Hidden Dangers in the Driveway

Posted in Connect on June 18, 2018.

Ahead of school summer holidays in the next couple of weeks the road safety office of Mayo County Council wants people to be aware of the problem of limited rear vision and the danger it poses, especially to children. Any type of vehicle can be involved in a low speed run over as many popular family cars have large blind spots.

The council says that the tragedy can be even greater in cases where there is a child fatality as a result of reversing because most of these cases occur in the family driveway with a member of the family behind the wheel.

We don’t think of small children as being in danger in such a familiar environment – but they are! Small children are naturally inquisitive and they can move surprisingly quickly. 38 children aged 14 years and under were killed on Irish roads between 2010 and 2015. The most recent RSA Child Casualty Report found that 41% of all child fatalities occurred in built-up areas.

Keeping some simple ideas in mind can make a huge difference to the safety of children in your care.

  • In the time it takes for the driver to say goodbye and start the car, a child can move from a ‘safe’ position onto the driveway and into the path of the vehicle.
  • Small children can be impossible to see from inside a car, especially if they are immediately behind it.
  • The rear vision of a number of popular cars has been tested and results show that there is not a ‘blind spot’ but in fact a large ‘blind space’ behind most cars.

Even if your car has parking sensors or a video camera fitted, you may not notice a small child until it is too late to stop. And remember, children are run over by vehicles moving forward as well as reversing.

A child hiding in the wheel arch of a car

Noel Gibbons, the road safety officer said “These terrible driveway accidents are occurring simply because children aren’t being seen in time. Because most of these accidents occur when the vehicle is reversing, one solution is to remove the blind spot behind the vehicle.”

“Modern vehicles, especially SUVs, don’t have effective rear vision. You can look in all three mirrors and yet miss a full-sized pram behind you, let alone a crawling child.”

“No parent can know where their kids are 100% of the time. Keeping track of one toddler is a full time job. Keeping track of more than one toddler is a nightmare; the larger the family, the greater the risk. You can’t change children, but you can change your car, so a toddler darting out of the house onto your driveway doesn’t become the next tragedy.”

“No one is claiming technology is fool proof.  Adults still have to take care around young children. Reversing cameras and beeping parking sensors simply give more information to the driver, in the same way rear view mirrors give more information to the driver.”

Driveways are dangerous 

  • Don’t rely on parking sensors or a reversing camera, you may not notice a small child until it is too late to stop.
  • Check the rear-view mirror, look over your shoulder before reversing and always supervise children who are near a moving vehicle
  • Driveways should be treated with the same caution as roads, the same dangers are present.
  • Take particular care for your child’s safety, especially when cars are pulling in and out.

The council says that it feels that if a person gets into the habit of reversing into their parking space in work it will lead to motorists doing the same in their homes. Make it a daily habit… Take 30 seconds to do a 360  a Walk Around Circle for Safety (just walk around your vehicle before you get into it and look for any hazards)

Vehicles can be fixed, a life can not  

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