The recent tragic news of a driveway fatality involving a toddler in Auckland highlighted some thought provoking facts on the subject.
• One child on average is hit by a car every month in Auckland driveways. • Five children a year are killed in driveway accidents across the country. • 88 per cent of children hit by vehicles in driveways are aged under 4.
Those statistics show we need to assume nothing and take nothing for granted before getting into a motor vehicle and manoeuvring around any space where young children are known to be present.
As all parents know, any child under the age of 4 years old has virtually no understanding of the word hazard. They see an open door, they crawl under a motor vehicle to retrieve a ball or simply follow their older siblings into an unprotected environment.
And shared driveways often offer more risk as there is the potential for more unknown traffic to be present.
Plus, strangers could be visiting friends who have no young children and therefore no idea of the potential surrounding dangers.
Maybe a sign at the entrance to a shared driveway warning of the presence of young children is a potential life saver.
As covered in a previous Car Care column, more vehicles are being fitted with parking sensors and/or reverse cameras and they can be fitted as an affordable aftermarket accessory.
But these devices should never replace the need for the driver to do a quick walk around a vehicle, or to do a head count of known young children in close proximity before entering their vehicle and driving away.
In a recent Car Care column we covered handbrake adjustment and using the transmission as a backstop to stop vehicle creep.
If you thought that was a little far-fetched or could never happen, well think again.
A couple of weeks ago while visiting family, I witnessed a neighbour's parked vehicle navigate its way down a steep gradient. The only reason it didn't reach the bottom of the hill was because it came to rest against the rear bumper of another vehicle.
It didn't take long to figure out the reasons why the car rolled away by itself. The vehicle had been parked with the transmission left in neutral and either the handbrake was not pulled on hard enough or badly in need of adjustment.
Bottom line was a shocked and distressed owner plus locals, many of whom had young children, left pondering the many "what-if" scenarios.