Driving in Philadelphia can be a mean game. Cars changing lanes at the last second, drivers not paying attention and those drivers who make it their job to blow through the traffic lights. As a crossing guard, combating these drivers is no easy task.
In Hunting Park, crossing guard Sarah Williams, operating at the intersection of West Westmoreland Street and Germantown Avenue by the Mary Bethune School, knows what it’s like to deal with these aggressive drivers after six years of doing so on a daily basis.
“Especially in the morning they’re very aggressive,” Williams said. “I have to be just as aggressive with them.”
Thankfully, she hasn’t witnessed any accidents in her time. Most vehicle accidents involving children actually occur when kids are on their way to and from school than near the school itself.
To her one of the biggest problems is that many drivers don’t realize pedestrians maintain the right of way even when the traffic light turns green. This is when accidents occur. But even some of the older children cross the middle of the street placing themselves in danger.
“It’s just as easy to come down here and cross,” Williams said, pointing to the street crossing lines on the road nearby. She watched as one child up the road made the attempt to cross the middle of the street and not at a corner. “I’ll be talking to him tomorrow morning.”
Though Philadelphia has typically been a pedestrian-friendly city, even winning awards from the American Automobile Association for its safety, the danger is always a concern for a crossing guard in the field. Williams provides that safety for the children as she continues her work, even if it means having to deal with every angry driver in Philadelphia.