The beginning of a new school year means new adventures for many children: new friends to meet, new teachers to get used to, new academic subjects to learn and master, and for some students, new school buildings to figure out. With all this facing local kids as school begins anew Aug. 4, children may not be paying as much attention as they should to safely getting to and from school.
So it’s important for parents and other adults to talk to children about staying safe as they make the regular trip to school and home again. The Roswell Police Department asks parents and guardians to remind children to look both directions before crossing a street, try to cross in a crosswalk, and never head into the street from between parked vehicles or from in front of or behind a parked vehicle – it can be difficult for a driver to have enough time to stop if a previously unseen child darts out suddenly. Also, parents should consider a “practice” walk with their children to school or the bus stop, especially for younger students and those who will be learning a new route to a new school or bus stop.
Meanwhile, drivers should heighten their awareness at intersections and approaching crosswalks. Also pay extra attention when approaching a school bus. Watch for children running out from in front of the bus – or other parked vehicles. And remember, drivers in both directions must stop when the red lights on a school bus are flashing and/or its stop sign is activated. And, of course, slow down when you enter a school zone – those areas limit speeds to 20 mph. Also, while driving in a school zone, never change lanes or pass other vehicles.
Some schools have areas and lanes designated to assist the smooth flow of traffic during drop-off and pickup times. Drivers are urged to adhere to the regulations so they can avoid being ticketed for parking violations. Never use handicapped or emergency-vehicle lanes for drop-offs and pickups of students. Pull over to the shoulder of the street and place your vehicle in park when dropping off or picking up children. Do not make drop-offs or pickups in busy roadways or in the middle of traffic.
More back-to-school safety tips can be found at the website of the National Safety Council.