HAMILTON – Remember school kids? They’re everywhere. Riding bikes. Getting on and off school buses. Walking. Running. Playing. In fact, more than 1.5 million Garden State school children are returning to school within the next week.
One simple way to keep them safe is to drive safely.
“Be cautious, particularly in school zones,” AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman David Weinstein said. “Obeying the posted speed limit gives drivers enough reaction time for most surprises. Remember: What kids are thinking is unlikely to be when and where to cross the street.”
AAA’s School’s Open – Drive Carefully campaign encourages drivers to be alert, paying special attention during the morning and afternoon hours while children are going to and heading home from school. It encourages drivers to look for children who might dart into streets in school zones, near playgrounds, at bus stops and in neighborhoods. School-age children are vulnerable in areas with heavy traffic volume, street-parked vehicles, higher posted speed limits and few pedestrian-control devices.
To increase safety for school children, drivers should follow these driving tips:
• Slow down in or near school and residential areas, paying particular attention during the morning and afternoon hours; come to a complete stop in all intersections. Studies show that more than one-third of motorists in school zones or neighborhoods just “roll through” intersections with a stop sign.
• Drive with your headlights on – even during the day – so children and other drivers can see you.
• Look for clues: AAA School Safety Patrol™ members, crossing guards, bicycles, playgrounds.
• Scan between parked cars for children that might dart into the road.
• Use extra caution in poor weather conditions.
• Always stop for school buses that are loading and unloading students.
Children should follow these tips to stay safe on their way to and from school:
• Go directly to and from school or the school bus stop, unless otherwise planned.
• Cross the street only at corners and watch for approaching vehicles and turning cars.
• Always use sidewalks when possible – if there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic and as far from the roadway surface as possible.
• Wait for the bus in a safe place – well off the roadway.
• Enter the bus in an orderly manner and be seated – remain seated when the bus is moving.
• Always keep all body parts in the bus at all times.
• Be aware of traffic when leaving the bus.
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