Late last summer I had the opportunity to apply for a town crossing guard. They hired me in October to work as a substitute guard who fills in for the regular guards when they call out. The job required a background check and fingerprinting, which was not a problem for me. I felt this would be a great way to earn some extra money to pay for my Obamacare and to be around people other than quilters, get me out of the house a few hiurs most days and a good daily dose of Vitamin D.
I spent two weeks being trained by other guards at various posts across town. The weather for the most part was still warm and everyone I met was really nice.
I have steadily been working at various posts and have several observations I would like to share with you.
1) The children and most adults are really polite and happy to have someone to cross them at dangerous intersections. Most thank me morning and afternoon. It's my job. I really enjoy my job.
2) Many NJ drivers do not truly understand traffic laws. For example, they will drive around you instead of stopping, speed in school zones (yes, its 25 MPH Folks), park in no parking zones, in cross walks, etc. Why are we all in such a hurry in our cars? I say, get up earlier!
3) Crossing guards are there to protect pedestrians and should be respected by all drivers. This does not happen in many situations. We also like to help to keep the school buses moving and on time so they can make their various rounds to pick up the children they transport. So, yes, we will wave them through the intersection while you are stopped to keep,them on schedule. As a driver you are supposed to yield to the school us, many do not.
4) When its cold, rainy, snowy, windy and dark, people on their mobile devices can't see you because they are too busy with their electronics. This is why we wear bright lime green high visibility, reflective clothing. that lime green is not a fashion statement! It's necessary so you can see us at greater distances and stop. sometimes, dirty car windows and the angle of the sunlight limit driver vision. if we can't make eye contact and see that you are slowing down and stopping, we will blow our whistles and wave the stop sign to get your attention.
5) The law states that you are not to park in front of fire hydrants or within 50 feet of a stop sign or 15-25 feet of a cross walk or street corner. All these rules are broken daily by people who think they are above the law. What they don't understand, is that those laws aren't for me. I'm not driving. I'm standing there crossing children and in some cases directing traffic. If you stop or park in the crosswalk, I can't see people walking, especially small children, until they step out past your car or large SUV. If you pull past the stop sign at the intersection where there is a white line painted and into the cross walk, so you can see better, we cannot do our jobs.
6) If emergency vehicles need to turn at the corner where you are parked, those 15-20 something precious feet where you are not supposed to park will allow the larger vehicles trying to get to the emergency situation the ability to turn easily. If your car is parked there and hit by the firetruck, guess what? You're going to get the ticket not the emergency vehicle. And you can bet I'll be there to testify on their behalf since I am employed by the town police force. Not to mention the delays you cause by them not having their right of way available to respond to the emergency.
7) If you are walking and about to step off the curb into any street, look up! The life you save may be your own. Put those darn mobile devices down when you cross. There are potholes, uneven pavement and things that can hurt you if you are too busy looking at the little screen instead of where you are walking.
8) Talk to the crossing guard as your approach the intersection and let them know either vocally or via hand signals which direction you intend to cross if there are multiple roads at the intersection. If you plan to cross and turn left or right and cross again, let your guard know this so they can ensure your safety and keep traffic stopped while you are in the roadway. We can't read your mind and since the guard may be a substitute, we may may not know your walking patterns since sub guard work various posts for other guards most of the time when the call out.
9) Listen to the crossing guard if you are a pedestrian or cyclist. They are trained to talk to you and give you verbal queues when its safe to walk or necessary to stop. They are also trained to use hand signals and whistles to communicate with the vehicles on the road. I'll bet most of you didn't know this.
I love being outside. I get to meet new people, wave a tons of strangers and friends and other town employees. I can watch wildlife everywhere and on occasion, I see rainbows and some of the most beautiful clouds, sunsets, and weird vehicles everywhere. I am the eyes and ears of the town. I report potholes when they are near my post so they can be filled and no one trips and gets hurt. I know my job can sometimes be dangerous, but I enjoy it despite the rain, wind, cold, snow, sleet, and really bad drivers. The children and most parents are wonderful.
So if you see me around town, wave (don't honk)!
#CrossingGuards #trafficrules #stopwhenIstepout #blowmywhistle #safetyfirst