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Back to School Road Safety Tips

2:00

Millions of U.S. children are starting a new school year and along with the joy and excitement comes traffic congestion.

It's never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially before and after school.

The National Safety Council offers these tips to drivers sharing the road with parents and caregivers dropping off or picking up their kids and school busses loading and unloading students.

If you’re dropping off your children, familiarize yourself with the specific drop off rules of your child’s school. More children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location according to the National Safe Routes to School program. These tips can apply to all school zones:

·      No double-parking. It blocks the visibility for other children and drivers.

·      Don’t load or unload kids across the street from the school

·      Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school.

When you’re sharing the road with young pedestrians, remember these safety tips:

  • Don't block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic
  • In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection
  • Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign
  • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas
  • Don't honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
  • Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way

Most likely, you’ll be sharing the road with school busses as well as other cars. A school bus is large, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

  • Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you're on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children
  • If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus
  • Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks

Cars and busses aren’t the only vehicles on the road around a school; there are also kids on bikes.  On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Bikes can be hard to see though, particularly small ones with little riders. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.

  • When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist
  • When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass
  • If you're turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals
  • Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this
  • Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods
  • Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars
  • Check side mirrors before opening your door

School zone speed lights will soon be or are already flashing, so you’ll have to retrain your eyes to look for them. By exercising a little extra care and caution, drivers and pedestrians can co-exist safely in school zones.

Story source: http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/back-to-school-safety-ti...

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