When out driving, more than a bad driver one should fear children on the road. They come in all shapes, sizes and temperaments but can be uniformly wayward with not a care for the rules of the road. Therefore it is for us adults to ensure they come to no harm even if it means inconvenience to us. You cannot tell a cat when it should cross a road and nor can you tell that to a child.

    CHILDREN LOITERING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD: This is not an unusual sight in a bylane. Most often they are in the 2 to 5 age group with absolutely no concept of safety. They may have come out unattended from their ground-floor flat out of curiosity and walked into the middle of the road as if it was part of their living room. Or they may have been left behind by a mum in a hurry due to carelessness after she got out of the car with shopping or with other children. Let us not go into the reasons why the little one is there in the middle of the road. Just stop your car until the matters get sorted out.

    CHILDREN SUDDENLY RUNNING ACROSS THE ROAD: These are generally children in the 5 to 10 age group. When adults make a run across the road they watch out for the traffic. Not these li’l ones. Put your brakes quickly slow down and blow the horn to draw their attention. Lecture them on road safety if you feel like and they are in a mood to listen.

    CHILDREN PLAYING ON THE ROAD: These are generally grown-up children in the 10-14 age group using the road as a cricket or soccer ground or to test their skate-boards. They are generally aware of the hazards of playing on the road but are handicapped by the absence of any open area near their houses. Therefore they tend to keep an eye on traffic and try to get out of the way to let a vehicle pass. But do not bank of that gesture always. Go extremely slow until you have passed the play zone.

    CHILDREN AROUND THE GARAGE OR PORCH: These are very tiny children. Generally in the 2 to 6 age group. If you have one in your house then you must be extremely careful when taking out your vehicle from the garage in reverse. Many tragic accidents have happened over the years when a driver ran over his or her own child since it could not be seen in the rear-view mirror and was actually standing behind the vehicle. If you have small children in your house, the best course to avoid any such mishaps is to park your vehicle in the garage in reverse rather than take it out in reverse.

    CHILDREN NEAR SCHOOLS: A driver should avoid dropping and picking up a child away from its school gate. Between the point where a child is dropped or picked up and the gate lies a stretch where any mishap can occur because every driver is in a hurry to drop [or pick up] and leave. And since a child is also in a hurry either way, it may not always be expected to be all that careful. Never leave a child in traffic to its own devices. Park your vehicle properly, even if at a distance, and walk the child to and from school.