Kids across the country are heading back to school this month, so it’s a good time to remind them (especially the younger ones) of safety measures to take as they travel to and from their school. An average of 131 fatalities from school-transportation-related accidents happen each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Here are some back to school safety tips to help your children:
If your kids ride the bus, teach them the four elements of S.A.F.E. bus conduct as outlined by the NHTSA:
- Stay five steps away from the curb.
- Always wait for the bus driver to tell you when to board.
- Face forward after finding a seat on the bus.
- Exit the bus when it stops, look left-right-left, and take five steps away from the bus toward the curb.
- If your kids walk:
- Remind them to always use the sidewalk, or, if no sidewalk is available, use the edge of the street and face traffic.
- Walking to school is a time to stay focused; put away electronic devices.
- Don’t use headphones, which could distract from the sound of a vehicle.
- Use crosswalks when possible and look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.
- Don’t step out to the street from between parked cars
- If your kids bike to school:
- Make sure they have a well-fitted helmet.
- Cycling kids should ride with the flow of traffic and follow traffic signs and signals.
- Make sure they understand the rules of the road and can use the proper hand signals.
The back-to-school season affects adults as well! Give yourself extra time in the morning to accommodate the delay caused in area school zones and practice these safety tips!
- Respect the flashing lights! School zones have posted, reduced speed limits during peak pedestrian times. Watch your speed when the lights are flashing and yield to pedestrians.
- Stay at least 10 feet back in either direction from a stopped school bus with flashing lights! It’s illegal in every state to pass a bus while it is stopped for loading or unloading children.
- Don’t block crosswalks while waiting at a red light or making a turn.
- Take extra precautions in the immediate neighborhood around schools, parks, and playgrounds, where kids may be walking with less adult supervision and no crossing guards available.
- A little patience goes a long way. Yield the right of way to the pedestrian, even if it’s rightfully yours. Little kids get confused and will sometimes walk where and when they should not.
- Young bicyclists don’t always know or follow the rules of the road! Leave ample room between your car and child cyclists and be prepared for unpredictable movement.
- Check your side mirrors for cyclists and pedestrians before opening your car door.
- Young bicyclists tend to dart out from driveways or between cars, so be cautious when driving through residential areas.
- Pay special attention to oncoming bicyclists while you are navigating a left turn and wait for them to pass you. Also, when navigating a right turn, watch for bicyclists behind you who may also be turning or riding straight through the intersection. Children are not consistent about using proper hand signals!