When you first become a parent you make a vow to keep your kids safe and secure, but fast forward a decade or so and your off-spring have morphed into fearless youngsters craving a bit of independence from Mum’s apron strings.
By the time kids reach secondary school and beyond, their life is full of distractions, chatting with friends or using their phones to update their social media status, to listen to music or play games.
It is precisely this group who statistically are most in danger at level crossings. At our #Levelcrossingsafety Twitter we discussed the dangers of distractions around level crossings for 14- to 24-year-olds and what we can do as parents to stop distractions from ending in injury or worse.
The chat was sponsored Network Rail, by the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the rail network in England, Scotland and Wales. Network Rail is promoting safety for all at the 6,000 level crossings in Britain. There have been more than 2,000 incidents involving 16- to 24-year-olds at level crossings over the past 6 years. Check out the Network Rail site to learn more.
It’s a worry with teens, often distracted with phones, earphones in, hoodies up… Also new drivers… @missielizzieb
Not just new drivers..stupid drivers ignoring lights or worse..driving around barrier. @Goriami
— Baby Routes (@BabyRoutes) July 20, 2017
Hate how our youngsters feel nothing can harm them and can be foolhardy after we look after them @Kateonthinice
Tragically a girl died on a crossing near my son’s school a few years ago so #levelcrossingsafety is close to our hearts @TheBeezleyBuzz
Would it impact your decision on letting teens walk to school if they had to cross a level crossing on the way?@Tantrums2Smiles
We live right by a rail crossing and my son has known from an early age you do not mess about at the rail crossing @TheCheshireWife
Such a worry for me with my 11yr old travelling 1.5 miles to her new secondary school from September @S_Walker_S
Last Saturday I ‘found’ the listed Signal Box at #Chalford. Thought it was a ‘museum’ @Salisays……..
— Sali Says (@sali_says) July 19, 2017
How to talk to teens
Talking to teens is always a challenge as they are at the age where they are self-centred and think the know best, but we have had some great tips from parents on how they get through to them.
— Mummy Vs Work (@MummyVsWork) July 20, 2017
The best way of telling teens about the
#LevelCrossingSafety is to just teach them the dangers and tips to stay safe! Better safe then sorry @Star2867
Sometimes honestly is the best policy and telling the harsh realities about what could and DOES happen works best! @Tantrums2Smiles
Have good discussions with my 21-yr-old about real events which help her understand the dangers @AnnieMay64
I’ve drilled into my kids the need to listen to safety briefings on planes/trains. Need to do same at level crossings @JHowze
Seeing news broadcasts, videos etc often shocks at first but the message usually stays in their head! @Tantrums2Smiles
Probably speaking to families of those affected too. Stories being told in schools so they can see the consequences @DanDanDiscoMan
We always make a point to look when crossing and put phones away @KatCandyFloss
Some of the close calls you see on CCTV shows. People don’t stop to think! What if you tripped? @angep1969
I had a look at the website and there are lots of great tips to teach yourself and your kids about safety! @Star2867
Don’t forget your pet! Dogs can be distracted by so many things too, so always keep them on a lead @SadieWestWood1
— SandraB (@gottobein) July 20, 2017
What does your level crossing look like?
At bit like us, level crossings come in all shapes and sizes, some with gates that rise and fall as the train approaches, others with a zig-zag gate or just styles with flashing lights where it is more important that you pay attention to what is going on.
— Sam Goodwin (@Luckysammyg) July 20, 2017
— Kara (@ChelseaMamma) July 20, 2017
— Kara (@ChelseaMamma) July 20, 2017
On hand to offer advice were Allan Spence & Sandy from Network Rail. This is what they had to say:
We try to spread the #levelcrossingsafety message to help others learn before a tragedy strikes
If you break down on a road crossing, use the crossing phone to let the signaller know straight away
Our new Virtual Reality films #levelcrossingsafety also grab kids’ attention whether on a posh VR headset or just a Google Cardboard
Anyone can use our #levelcrossingsafety materials and films to help carers and others help make the railway safer
We have to find ways to interact with teenagers using the technology and media they use regularly
Every level crossing is detailed on our website http://networkrail.co.uk
Never cross if a train is coming. It’s difficult to judge their speed. And they can’t stop or swerve!
Waiting a few seconds can be difference between living & not. No-one who’s had trauma of an accident would risk it
It’s illegal to cross against red lights on a road crossing.
Young children from Bognor Regis have designed & built a complex model railway to help school pupils learn about the dangers of the railway pic.twitter.com/JE9M5KstF7
— NR South East (@networkrailSE) June 26, 2017
For more shocking videos about real life railway incidents, see the Network Rail YouTube channel.
We can all play our part in making the railway safer together. Don’t let this become real for you!
A big thank you to all those that took part. We hope it helps you chat to the kids about the importance of Level Crossing Safety.