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Parents drive toward kids crossing streets

Original post made by Louise, Harvest Park Middle School, on Oct 12, 2007

I have been observing this phenomenon every day for the past 7 years. I drive past three Pleasanton schools as I drop off and pick my children up from school. I see kids crossing streets as they leave school and walk home. I see parents driving cars who want to turn onto the street the kids are crossing. They turn their tires in the direction of the children. They accelerate toward the children. I see parents who point their cars right at these child pedestrians. That's bad enough. Drivers are supposed to keep their wheels straight until they can fully execute their turn. This way, if you're hit from behind, your car will not be pushed into the crossing children.
But that's not all these parents do. They turn their wheels toward the kids AND they actually ACCELERATE toward the children. They drive slowly forward, aimed right at the kids, so that they can proceed as soon as the child's backpack clears their bumper.
This is dangerous. What if the child suddenly turned around to run back for something? You would hit the kid.
In addition, how do you think it feels to have a car bearing down on you as you cross the road?
Keep your wheels straight until the children have finished crossing.
Do not drive toward children who are crossing the street. Do not put your foot on the gas until the kids have crossed the street. What is the purpose of Character Education in the schools when the parents are such poor examples?

Comments (7)

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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Oct 12, 2007 at 7:56 pm

Louise's concern is that.......

They turn their wheels toward the kids AND they actually ACCELERATE toward the children. They drive slowly forward, aimed right at the kids...........

I understand that you view that parents are engaging in a dangerous maneuver but yet your description is somewhat contradictory. Driving slowly forward is NOT the same as ACCELERATE toward the children. I take that your objection might really stem from "aimed right at", which is really different from truly "accelerating" while "aimed right at". If the vehicle is moving slowly, aimed right at the children, but is under full control of the driver, as evidenced by the driver slowly moving forward, then I question really whether this is dangerous in the sense that you convey.

I appreciate your concern, though, and hope that drivers read this and re-consider how they drive and maneuver in this situation. Safety of children trumps being in a hurry. Perhaps giving more space would be safer for the children as well as relieving the concern of all who are watching.


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Posted by Louise
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2007 at 9:25 pm

Thank you for your considerate response, Frank. Here's why I think it's a dangerous practice...
1. If the child were to stop walking, or turn around and run back, there's is a good chance the car, or often truck, will hit them. This would not be the case if the driver was not driving toward the child. 2. If the car is hit from behind by another car, the car will be pushed into the child. My last point has to do with consideration of others....it feels bad to have a truck or car moving straight at you when you are crossing the street. Particularly, I imagine, if you're 6 years old. I think it would feel scary. I understand that these parent drivers are not thinking of the children's feelings. My children don't walk to school, it is not my kids I'm thinking of, but other people's children,


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Posted by Theresa
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2007 at 9:52 pm

I go to a local high school, and I walk both ways. EVERY TIME I cross the street I experience careless drivers, and it makes me so nervous. I mean, can you not wait like 3 seconds for me to finish crossing the street or is someone bleeding to death in the back seat? I have been almost hit several times, each time I was crossing legally, not j-walking or darting out into traffic. And the drivers always look at me like it was MY FAULT they had to slam on their breaks.

Last year my sister was almost hit while she was crossing--and she was crossing with a crossing guard.

What ever happened to pedestrians getting the right of way?

Or the law that you can not drive thru a crosswalk until there is NO ONE in it?


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Posted by Louise
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2007 at 5:02 pm

Exactly Theresa. I also see, daily, drivers proceeding through a crosswalk with a crossing guard holding up the stop sign and guiding children across the street. They will drive through on either side of the guard that they can squeeze through. It's unreal. And these are PARENTS.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Oct 14, 2007 at 8:08 pm

I see Louise's point. Why keep your vehicle moving forward when children are crossing in front of you? What's your hurry? Simply stop and wait. This reduces the chance of hitting the children if exceptional circumstances develop, as Louise point out.

I have not witnessed the circumstance that is the subject of Louise's complaint since I'm not out there each day dropping off or picking up kids at school. But I have seen a lot of other similar situations where during the day people in Pleasanton drive dangerously in slow speed situations, most often with cell phone to the ear, oblivious to the possibilities that can develop that may lead to injury.


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Posted by David
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2007 at 3:42 pm

I very much agree with the previous statements. We all get in a hurry and it's easy to make a mistake when you are in a hurry.

I will say though, some of the teenagers especially are almost in slow motion in the cross-walk. I wish they would be more considerate of waiting drivers. They could easily pick up the pace instead of dragging their feet. However, while this is frustrating, it's no reason to use your car to push them along!


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Posted by Kristina
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2007 at 4:37 pm

David, I remember doing this when I was a teenager. Sometimes I would deliberately walk slowly across the street while a car was waiting. I was very angry because I was treated horribly by my 'parents.' I was powerless, nobody ever tried to help me. I think I was trying to exert a little power,(by walking slowly), over the adults who had all the power over me.


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