The autumn rush has arrived. With local students heading back to school, everyone needs to be alert for young pedestrians and bicyclists, keep an eye out for inexperienced teen drivers and expect traffic congestion in and around schools and bus stops.
Time to go back to driving school basics! Start at home:
Plan ahead — Leave early for your destination. Navigating school zones will take time. If needed, consider modifying your route.
Buckle up — You know why.
Safety begins in the driveway — When backing up, do so slowly and look over both shoulders. Some children may be small enough to be hidden by your vehicle. They also dart in and out quickly.
Follow the speed limit. School zone speed limits are purposefully set low, so when children are present, go slowly.
Stop at stop signs. Really stop — Research shows that more than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods, according to AAA. Come to a complete stop, look both ways for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks and only then proceed.
Stop for the school patrols, too — When in doubt, wait for them to wave your car through.
Obey that bus stop arm and flashing lights — You need to stop and remain stopped until the bus driver pulls in the stop arm, deactivates the stop lights.
Watch for bicyclists. Children on bikes are often inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable. Slow down and allow at least three feet of passing distance between your vehicle and the rider. If your child rides a bike to school, he or she should always wear a properly fitted bike helmet.
And parents, tell your students that they are responsible for their safety. Those important back-to-school lessons include crossing only at the corners, anticipating that motorists will not see them, and paying attention to the surroundings. Pause at the curb; look left, look right, look left; make eye contact with drivers and then proceed with caution.
Let’s head back to school together.