It is a sad fact that too many children are accidentally run over on their home driveway. Family pets are also at risk as they sometimes run out in front of moving vehicles arriving or departing from the family home, or they might be sleeping out on the driveway behind a car as it reverses. In addition, trips, slips and falls also occur regularly, due to slippery or unsafe driveway surfaces. If your home has a driveway, it is important that you know how to prevent accidents from happening. Here are some safety tips that every homeowner should know.
Nonslip surfaces and safety zones
Make sure that you have a clean and clear nonslip driveway surface. Keep leaves and rotting vegetation off the driveway, as they can cause pedestrians to slip and fall while approaching your residence on foot. Ensure that you have all cracked areas and any jagged edges attended to immediately, and do take the time to clean and maintain your driveway properly – don’t allow it to fall into a poor state of repair. If you have small children in your home, then consider implementing a “safe zone” near to the front door but away from approaching vehicles. This is a specific spot where children know to stand and wait safely while you get the car out of the garage or manoeuvre your vehicle, such as affecting a three-point turn, for example.
Always check around the vehicle before starting to drive
Walking around the vehicle before getting in to make sure that children are not playing behind it, or that the cat is not sleeping in the shade of your car, is very important. Once you are at the wheel, there is a “blind spot” where you won’t be able to see small children or even approaching visitors, particularly if the driveway is on a slope, so always double check before starting the engine.
Think about putting up a notice at the front of your driveway that says “Slow down – children at play”, for example. This will act as a visual reminder for both you and your visitors. Also, if you happen to have trees and bushes lining the driveway, make sure you cut them back at the entrance so that they do not restrict your view of who else might be on the driveway as you are entering the premises.
If your front doors or side entrances open out onto the driveway, consider fixing childproof stair gates on the inside of such entryways. This will stop not only young toddlers from rushing outside and potentially getting into harm’s way, but also the family dog. Readily available and easy to fix, childproof gates are an affordable and effective way of helping to prevent driveway accidents.
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