“Stop, look, listen.” “Look both ways before crossing the street.” These childhood lessons stress the importance of pedestrian safety. However, it is all too common to see people looking at their phone or texting, oblivious to the world around them, when approaching a crosswalk. Everyone can use a gentle reminder to keep their “Heads Up” and pay attention when crossing the street. The simple message could save your life.

In an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of distractions, the city of Santa Clarita is painting stencils at various crosswalk locations as part of its “Heads Up” campaign. Residents will see new Heads Up stenciling at major intersections throughout Santa Clarita, as well as near some elementary schools. The message is designed to remind pedestrians to disconnect from distractions and play an active role in their safety.

September is Pedestrian Safety Month in California and the Heads Up campaign aims to educate residents about their responsibility as drivers and pedestrians to eliminate traffic collisions. Pedestrians are urged to be aware of their surroundings at all times, especially while crossing the street.

Disconnect from distractions and watch for cars turning into crosswalks before crossing the street. Make eye contact with drivers as well and don’t assume that they will see you automatically or yield the right of way. It is important to remember to only cross at designated crosswalks.

Heads Up messaging is also appearing on coffee sleeves at select coffee shops in the Santa Clarita Valley, as well as on banners and other signage in the city. A crosswalk initiative at local schools is also reminding drivers to keep their “Heads Up” in school zones and check all intersections for children before proceeding. Children, under the supervision of parents and volunteers, are holding small crossing guard signs emblazoned with “Heads Up” while crossing streets by their school to give drivers a visual reminder to drive safely in school zones.

Pedestrian and traffic safety are community priorities and every resident plays a part. For more information on driving and pedestrian safety and the Heads Up campaign, visit Santa-Clarita.com/HeadsUp.