Growing up in the 1980s, road safety was KING and the road, your most fatal enemy
I remember several initiatives to encourage road safety as a little’un:
There was the Tufty club, where you had badges to motivate you to being a shrewd observer of the road. This campaign was spearheaded by a safety conscious, pant wearing, little-Lord-Fauntleroy of a Squirrel who looks based (ripped off?) the works of Beatrix Potter. The eponymous Tufty, who was clearly relate-able to the kids of the 80s.
The Green Cross Code
The slight illusion of muscles? Check! Tight pants? Check! Dad-like paunch?Check! Vague reference to superheroes? Check! What else could symbolise care on Britain’s roads?
This was a brand created by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents to raise awareness of Road Safety. A clear code of the roads, using an easy mnemonic for kids to remember. Stop, Look and Listen! Don’t cross near parked cars! Don’t do the caterpillar on lino on the motorway!
Don’t step out when you’re close to the edge!
Grandmaster Flash was a great champion of road safety and was only too happy to collaborate on this ‘wicked’ public awareness initiative. Described on YouTube as a ‘Anti getting run over video of the 1980s’, I’m guessing that this was an attempt to appeal to teens who are famed for being hypnotised by neon and rap music.
Parents and grandparents
More importantly than all of the above, my parents taught me to watch the road. To look both ways and ensure it was safe to cross. They held my hand by the roadside and made sure it was safe to cross and modelled caution and taking no risks when it came to vehicles.My parents and grandparents were/are safety conscious, road fearing people. As soon as we were approaching the road they’d grab for my hand and go through the whole ‘stop, look and listen’ deal or make me watch for the green man on the crossing as if he were a small LED fascist dictator. They would constantly chide me to stand back from the pavement and to find a safe space to cross. It worked. I fear the road.
However, is it just me or do children and parents these days seem to follow a new code of the road? A code unfamiliar to me and not part of the fabric of my upbringing. A code that I am unfamiliar with:
1. Walk out. Just walk out. Don’t even bother looking if you don’t feel like raising your heavy, meaty head and managing the onerous task of rotating that thick, shit filled skull of yours. The car isn’t gonna run you over is it? Stare at the driver as you walk out. Stare deep into their eyes as if staring into the soul of a serial killer as they step on the break to swerve you.
2. Leave less time to walk out in front of the car if you have a child with you. Drivers gotta slow down for the little kiddies eh? What kind of heartless Nazi loving road weasel wouldn’t slow down for THE KIDDIES?
3. Also the kiddies gotta learn that you’ve got to show the motorist who’s boss. This isn’t road-fear, these days, it’s road-dominance. The road is a complex power game and you can’t let those shitty car drivers think they’re boss. That’s right, Levi, stare deep into their eyes and imagine you’re Jeremy Kyle staring at a dad who hasn’t “stepped up to the plate”.
4. You’ve managed to stop your car. Excellent work. You’ve got somewhere else to be and there’s a line of oncoming traffic. No fucking problem. Fling your door open. Take your time! There’s no rush is there? Don’t waste your precious time looking, for fuck’s sake. Looking is for pissy arse cleavers.
Are there any rules I’ve missed out? What boils your piss on today’s roads?