With all of the vehicles on the road, how can we assure our kids’ safety going back to school?
It’s that time again—back to school! Most public schools in the area start this week. Some parents are elated and some not so much. But either way, it is important to be aware that buses are back on the roads and kids are on sidewalks getting to and from school. The summer commute conditions are ending and we all need to be vigilant about the safety of all children
Please keep in mind these important safety tips when you see a school bus:
• Whenever you see a school bus ahead, slow down. Children run in and out of buses and sometimes cross the street without looking in front of the bus.
• Always stop when the school bus stops. It is illegal in all 50 states to go around a school bus.
• Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road.
• If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop.
• 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.
• Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks.
According to the National Safety Council, more children, especially age 4-7, are hit by vehicles near schools than any other place. Traffic in front of schools is generally very hectic.
To minimize children not being seen properly, and to reduce the risk of accidents, the Safety Council recommends:
• Don’t double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles
• Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school
• Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school
• 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.
• In a school zone, when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or an intersection.
• Always stop for a crossing guard holding up a stop sign.
• Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas.
• Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
• Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way.
Many children ride their bikes to school. To reduce the risk of a pedestrian or bicycle accident:
• When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist. If the cyclist is on your side of the street, it is up to you as the driver to let other traffic pass before you swerve around the cyclist allowing enough room.
• When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass.
• If you’re turning right and a bicyclist is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals.
• Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this.
• Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods.
• Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars.
• Check side mirrors before opening your door. Many runners and bikers are injured by a door swinging open.
We appreciate all of those who donated to our Back-to-School Drive for backpacks and school supplies. Thanks to your support many local kids will start the year off with the supplies they need to learn. From all of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota, we hope it will be a great school year for you and your family. If we can help you with a decision for your new family vehicle, we have a nice selection of Volvos and Toyotas to meet your budget and your needs.