Safe Gap

Determining a Safe Gap

The first important duty of patrol members is to determine a safe gap in traffic. The patrol captain or supervisor will assist patrol members in determining when there is a break in traffic that will allow students to safely cross the street.

To determine a safe gap, patrol members judge:

  • Speed of vehicles.
  • Traffic volume.
  • Road and weather conditions.
  • Number of lanes of traffic.

To establish a safe gap:

  • Walk across the street at normal speed when there is no traffic.
  • Count the seconds to cross safely and add five seconds to allow for students who start across later than the lead student.
  • Pick a fixed point – such as a mailbox or signpost – about 1,000 feet from the student crossing point.
  • When a vehicle passes this point, count the seconds until the vehicle reaches the crossing.

Patrol members must pay attention to parked cars that may enter traffic and vehicles that may come from driveways or alleys.

To determine safe gaps at intersections with signals:

  • On average, it takes 10 seconds for a child to cross.
  • If the signal remains green for 30 seconds, count 20 seconds, then stop students from crossing until the next green light.
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