Look up, Look out! Keep child pedestrians safe this summer

Annapolis, Md- With thousands of children starting their summer break this week, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) urges everyone to Look Up, Look Out, stay alert and review the rules of the road.  When driving through residential neighborhoods and near places children frequent such as area parks and recreation centers, be cautious as children can be unpredictable.  At the same time, with more children outside at play, parents should review “Walk Smart” practices: use crosswalks, push “walk” buttons, follow pedestrian signals and look left, right, left before crossing.  Both drivers and pedestrians need to look up, look out, avoid distractions such as cell phones and make eye contact with each other.

“There is no contest between a child and a vehicle; whether driving or walking, let’s all Look Up and Look Out for each other, especially during the summer months with schools out and more kids walking in neighborhoods,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Gregory Slater. “Safety starts by walking smart and employing the basics such as using crosswalks, looking left right left, and staying alert. We also need drivers to follow the speed limit, stay alert and stop for pedestrians.” 

As part of the Look Up, Look Out, Walk Smart campaign, MDOT SHA and partners remind students and drivers about pedestrian safety.  The campaign advocates that parents and children review the rules of the road, especially for walking to school, biking, and waiting for the school bus as well as for summer time activities. Drivers need to remember that children often travel by foot, to always stop for pedestrians and that large group of students may be out and about on summer camp field trips in areas with attractions. 

To further enhance the safety of children, MDOT SHA offers the following tips:

For pedestrians:

• Use sidewalks and marked cross walks whenever possible.

• Press the pedestrian signal button and wait for the walk signal.

• Always stop at the curb and look left, right and left before crossing a street.

• Watch for cars turning in or leaving driveways.

• Walk, don’t run across the street.

• Wear light or bright colored clothing.

• Pay attention and take off headphones while walking – no texting or playing games.

For drivers:

• Always stop for pedestrians.

• Obey traffic signs, signals and markings.

• Don’t run red lights.

• Observe posted speed limits. Speeding only makes it more difficult to stop for pedestrians.

• Keep your eyes on the road. It’s illegal to use a handheld phone/device or text while driving.

• Expect more pedestrian traffic in neighborhoods and near parks, recreation centers and other area attractions.

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