Summer is drawing to a close, and children are headed back to school soon. We encourage you to remind family members and neighbors to use extra caution this time of year, keeping in mind that pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and buses as well as other vehicles are sharing the road.
Following are some important safety reminders for you and your children:
Walking to School
- Always walk on sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
- Always cross streets at corners where there are traffic signals and designated crosswalks.
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
- Always look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
- Be aware of cars that are turning or backing up.
- Never run out into the street or cross between parked cars.
Riding a Bicycle to School
- Make sure your child always wears his or her helmet when leaving the house.
- Make sure the helmet is fitted and secured properly.
- Teach your children the rules of the road.
- Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, and in a single file.
- Come to a complete stop before crossing the street. Walk bike across street.
Riding in a Car
- Passengers should always wear a seat belt and buckle up as soon as they get into the car.
- Remind children not to yell, jump around, or otherwise distract the driver.
- Children 12 years old and younger should always ride in the back seat. They should never sit in the front seat of a car that has air bags.
- Infants should be placed in a rear-facing car seat until at least age one (20 lbs.).
- Toddlers should be placed in a forward-facing car seat until the harness no longer fits.
- Use a booster seat with the lap and shoulder seat belts until your child reaches the weight and height harness strap limits of their car seat.
Safe Driving for All Motorists
- NO TEXTING OR TALKING ON A CELL PHONE! It is illegal to use a cell phone in an active school zone.
- Monitor your speed while traveling in school zones.
- HEFTY FINES can result from a motorist speeding or using a cell phone in an active school zone.
- Be on the lookout for CROSSING GUARDS and follow their commands.
- Be PATIENT with those unfamiliar with school pick-up/drop-off routines.
- DO NOT BLOCK ANY PORTION OF A CROSSWALK. Blocking a crosswalk forces pedestrians to go around a vehicle, putting them in a dangerous situation.
- Be ALERT as children are unpredictable. While getting on or off the school bus, they can be comfortable with their surroundings and may ignore hazards such as oncoming traffic.
Driving Around Buses
- YELLOW flashing lights on a bus indicate it is about to stop. Motorists should slow down and/or stop.
- RED flashing lights and an EXTENDED STOP SIGN indicate the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off it.
- It is ILLEGAL to pass a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading children.
- Traffic in ALL LANES, IN BOTH DIRECTIONS, MUST STOP when children are getting on or off a bus.
- A SOLID MEDIAN DIVIDER between a motorist and an oncoming bus is the only legal instance in which you can pass a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing and/or stop sign extended.