Tips For Teachers: Road Safety Education Lesson Plans

These road safety objectives give teachers the key points to cover in their classrooms.

It is vital that children of all ages learn proper road safety. Children are at high risk for injuries and fatalities in vehicle and road related incidents. The following lesson plan guidelines can help children prevent such accidents and avoid behaviors that lead to accidents.

OBJECTIVE 1: STOP, LOOK, AND LISTEN

Statistically, the largest number of injuries among child pedestrians is the failure to stop at every street edge and looking for cars. The key point to communicate to children is to stop at the edge of the sidewalk before crossing, look left, right, and left again, and listen for oncoming cars. Children should only cross if it is clear. You can help children practice this by simulating situations in the classroom. For example, you can use masking tape inside or outside of the classroom to create a mock street. Have the children line up on one side of the tape, and have them practice looking left, right, and then left again. A remote control car can help children learn to wait for cars to pass before crossing.

OBJECTIVE 2: TRAFFIC LIGHT MEANINGS

To teach younger children about traffic lights and what they mean, make a snack. Give each child one-fourth of a graham cracker. Spread peanut butter on the cracker and have the child place a red M&M on the top. The red is for stop. Have the child place a yellow M&M in the middle for the caution light. A green M&M stands for the go signal. Once children understand the lights meanings, they can eat their creation.

OBJECTIVE 3: PEDESTRIAN SIGNS

Have children create common pedestrian signs. Cut cardboard into sign shapes. A stop sign, school crossing sign, and a walk/don't walk sign are good. If the children suggest any other signs, discuss their meanings and make these too. Once the signs are painted, tape them onto gift-wrap cardboard tubes. Secure the signs upright in coffee cans filled with sand. Place these signs in a mock street scenario. These can be made in the classroom using masking tape, or throughout the playground. Practice walking with the children, what the signs mean, and what they should do at each sign.

OBJECTIVE 4: HELMET SAFETY

It is important for children to understand the importance of wearing a helmet when they ride a bike, inline skates, scooters, or skateboards. Discuss what a proper helmet fit is. A helmet should sit snugly on the head and come down on the forehead. Proper fit instructions are typically included in the packaging of the helmet. A powerful demonstration is the egg drop. Drop a raw egg without an egg. Tape a raw egg inside of a helmet and drop the helmet. Stress how a helmet can make the difference between no injuries or minor injury and brain damage or death.

OBJECTIVE 5: BUS SAFETY

Contact the school district's transportation department and inquire about using a bus to practice. Discuss the proper way to board the bus, how to ride, and how to exit. Children should stand at the curb and remain there until the bus comes to a complete stop and the door opens. They should board the bus, take their seat, and remain seated during the ride. Once the bus comes to a stop, they should rise and depart from the bus. Children should go immediately to the curb. If a bus is available for use, practice the proper behaviors.



OBJECTIVE 6: PEDESTRIAN SAFETY

There are several points to this objective. It is a lot of material, but discussion, and practice on mock street scenario can help children remember these points.

1. Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, walk off the road facing traffic so that you can see any cars that are heading your direction.

2. Cross the street only at intersections or marked crosswalks. Always stop, look, and listen.

3. If there is a car parked where you are crossing, look to see if there is a driver in the car. Carefully walk to the edge of the car and then stop, look, and listen.

4. While crossing, continue to look for cars. Always walk across the street. Do not run.

5. Do not walk at night.

6. Never run into the street to catch a ball or an animal.

7. Before you cross a street where cars may be waiting, like at an intersection or crosswalk, look at the drivers. If the drivers are looking at the child, then walk across quickly and do not stop in the middle of street. Driver and pedestrian eye contact lets the child know that the driver sees them.

OTHER TIPS:

There may be free resources available to help teachers in their lesson plans and covering these road safety objectives. Contact your school district's transportation department and see if they can help. Also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They offer free classroom materials that are a fun way to reinforce these important safety objectives. Third, investigate the local library. They may have videos and materials that can emphasize the road safety objectives.

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