Transportation Safety Tips for Back-to-School
Back to school is fully in session. The school buses you happily said goodbye to on your morning commute just a few short months ago have returned and along with the extra traffic jams they create, they are also a bright yellow reminder to slow down and watch for pedestrians—especially the kid-size variety. If buses are on the prowl, parents in charge of carpool are also on the road, which means everyone is starting their day with a healthy dose of stress-induced road rage. Always proceed with caution.
“It’s never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present—especially before and after school,” say the experts at the National Safety Council (NSC).
In addition to slowing down, the NSC urges you to keep more distance between you and the bus you’re following so that you can react better to the bus’s intentions.
“It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children,” reports the NSC. “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,” advises the Council.
If you find yourself in a school zone, near a park or playground, and in neighborhoods, be on hyper alert for kids, advises the council, and always obey a crossing guard’s stop sign at intersections and crosswalks.
“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,” warns the Council.
If you are on carpool duty or just shuttling your own bookworm back and forth, be sure to follow the drop-off instructions of the school and don’t hold up traffic by double-parking; it minimizes visibility for all, according to the Council.
If you leave the getting-to-school responsibility to the feet of your children, the experts at HealthyChildren.org recommend vetting their route before school starts.
“Walk the route yourself before taking your child along. Be sure that the route she will take offers good visibility, is relatively free of hazards, has plenty of pedestrian room at a safe distance from traffic, and involves no dangerous crossings,” report the HealthyChildren.org experts. “Make sure there are well-trained crossing guards at every intersection your child must cross. Consider available daylight when your child will be walking. Regardless of visibility, be sure your child is wearing brightly colored clothing.”
Kids who opt for two-wheeled transportation, should always wear a Consumer Product Safety Commission-approved helmet, cycle only in daylight hours, don bright attire, and follow the rules of the road; plus, children under nine need to ride with an adult and out of the road, and parents should decide after careful consideration whether older children are allowed to cycle in traffic, according to the HealthyChildren.org experts.
By studying and practicing transportation safety rules, everyone will be off to a great start for the new school year.