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PSA for parade safety


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I have now driven the tow vehicle in two parades for the float/trailer for the Barbershop Chorus DH and DS are in.

The tow vehicles that pull floats in the parades tend to be large trucks (ours is an F-350). Parades tend to be first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening, which often means at least part of the route, the driver is driving straight into the sun.

These two things in combination mean it's really hard to see your small (and not so small) children when they run into the road. Just sayin'

Close call both parades I've driven, though today's wasn't quite as scary as the one a few weeks ago. That one, a tiny little guy, only about two, darted right in front of the truck, and I only saw him as a flash of movement out of the corner of my eye. He was completely invisible once he was in front of the truck, lower than the hood and only inches away. I hit the brake more out of instinct than anything else.  Even at 1 mph, with our big truck, he could have been very badly hurt.  Even killed, if he'd gone under the wheel.

His very pale dad/granddad paused at the truck window to thank me. I was so shaken, I could respond only with a nod.

(Today's child was a little older, and a little further in front of me, so I had more reaction time. It still required a more abrupt stop than was ideal for the guys standing on our float, but no harm done.)

The first child was looking for candy and slipped away from his family.  That parade allowed entrants to throw candy, and a group two or three up from us was doing that.  Today's child probably saw the group of adults who had decided to cut across the parade route a minute or so earlier, and thought it was okay for her to do that, too

Please, watch your kids and stay out of the route yourselves.

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This is one reason I am very pleased with how my town runs the parade.

Several years ago they moved it to our biggest road (5 lanes total) citing safety concerns.  It inconveniences more people closing that road (though only for about an hour), but it creates a lot more separation between the vehicles and the crowds.  Before the parade arrives, a couple police officers on motorcycles come through and playfully shoo people off the road and onto the grass.  Mostly, adults end up sitting back a bit on camp chairs and the kids stand on the curb.

Then, to keep the kids back, they don't allow people to throw candy from floats.  Candy is given out by walkers along both sides of the street.  They either hand it directly to kids or toss it right along the curb where they can reach it without stepping into the street.

In the 8 years we have been going to this parade, I have never seen a child dart anywhere near a vehicle.  Obviously, I'm sure it does happen, but the event has been carefully designed to limit danger.


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