It’s that time of year again – summer is winding down and children are heading back to school. Thus, we must also deal with an increase in foot and street traffic. This can cause increased stress in some, which may result in dangerous situations and bouts of road rage. It is important to remember to proceed with caution. Take heed of these back-to-school road safety tips.
When kids are present (especially in school zones and neighborhoods) before and after school, it is important to abide by speed limits and slow down.
Always keep a safe distance between you and the bus (or any vehicle) you are following. This will allow you enough time and space to react to any of the bus’s intentions.
And remember, it is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children – be sure to stop far back enough to allow kids to safely enter and exit the bus.
In school zones, near parks or playgrounds, and in neighborhoods, be more alert when watching for children. And always obey a crossing guard’s stop sign at intersections and crosswalks.
When stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, avoid blocking the crosswalk. By blocking the crosswalk, pedestrians may be forced to walk around you, possibly putting them in the path of moving traffic. Always stop before the crosswalk line and watch for pedestrians.
If there are dedicated pick- up and drop-off zones and rules, follow them. They are put in place for the safety of your children. Double-parking not only holds up traffic, but also reduces visibility for all, increasing the risk for an accident or dangerous situation.
If you are letting your children walk to school, be sure to scope out the route beforehand. You want to make sure that the route offers good visibility, is relatively free from hazards, has plenty of pedestrian room at a safe distance from traffic, and involves no dangerous crossings. There should be well-trained crossing guards at every intersection your children must cross. Consider the available daylight when your child will be walking and always dress them in brightly colored clothing, regardless of visibility.
If your children will be riding a bike to school, they must always wear a Consumer Product Safety Commission-approved helmet. Kids must also bike during daylight hours only, wear bright attire, and follow the rules of the road. Children under nine must ride with an adult and out of the road as well. It is up to the parents’ discretion whether or not older children may ride bikes in traffic.
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