Although it feels as though students in Alexandria were just released from school to enjoy their summer break, they will shortly be heading back to school in just a few days. Students are scheduled to return to school on August 14th and it is important that you prepare yourself as you will soon be sharing the roadway with parents, teens, and school buses once again. Because we anticipate that the roadways will soon be congested with vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists, we are sharing a few helpful tips for you and your family to consider as they can help keep others safe, including the kids who are simply trying to get to and from school safely.
Tips to Keep Young Pedestrians Safe
While some kids take the bus or ride their bike, others who live close by to their school may choose to walk there. So, here are a few things the National Safety Council (NSC) suggests you can do as a driver that will increase the level of safety for these young kids as they travel back to school.
- Avoid blocking the crosswalk when you are stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn as this could force pedestrians to go around you and, in turn, put them in the path of other moving traffic.
- If you are in a school zone and see that the flashers are blinking, be sure to stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.
- Remember to always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard that is holding up a stop sign. Generally, they do this when they are helping children cross the busy roadway.
- Keep an eye out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas. You will likely see more kids out during the early morning hours and in the afternoon after they dismiss from school.
- Never “honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way.”
- Avoid passing a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians at all costs.
- Always use extreme caution near schools and at crosswalks “to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way.”
Aside from keeping a watchful eye out for pedestrians and bicyclists, you will also want to drive with caution when you approach a school bus. The NSC recommends that if you find yourself driving behind a bus, leave a greater following distance than you would a passenger vehicle so that if the bus puts its flashers on and extends its stop arms, you have ample time to stop rather than trying and pass the bus. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a stopped school bus with its lights on and extenders out as children are entering and exiting the bus.
In order to make the start of this school year a successful one, it is important that everyone do their part and ensure they are being cautious, careful, attentive, and courteous.
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