2006-09-07 / Top Stories

Back To School Safety Tips

With the start of the new school year, students will be rushing to be on time, parents will be getting them on their way, and drivers will be going about their business - all could heed some advice on safety. "This is a critical time of the year," noted Ray Palermo, director of public information for Teachers' Insurance Plan. "Drivers need to re-acclimate themselves to having children on and near the road, particularly at rush hours. And, both children and their parents need to get back into their good traffic safety habits." He offered several tips from their "Back to School" safety brochure.

Tips for Walking or Biking to School

+Walk with a friend.

+Pay attention to all traffic signals and crossing guards. Never cross the street against a stop light.

+Look left, right, and over your shoulder for traffic before crossing a street, and continue to check each direction.

+Make sure drivers see you by making eye contact with them.

+If riding a bicycle, scooter or skateboard to school, always wear a helmet and ride in the same direction as traffic. Walk your bike if crossing a street.

Tips for School Bus Riders

+Do not play in the street while waiting for the bus.

+Line up facing the bus, not along side it.

+After getting off the bus, move out of traffic.

+Wait for the bus driver to signal you to cross the street. Walk away from the front of the bus so the driver can see you.

Tips for Parents & Drivers

+Everyone should wear a seatbelt, and children should be in age and size appropriate car seats.

+Stay focused on driving and don't be distracted by kids in the car or with other activities.

+Slow down in school zones. Driving just 5 MPH over the speed limit increases both the risk of hitting a child and the severity of any injuries.

+You never know if children crossing the street are paying attention, so remain stopped until the child has crossed not only your lane of traffic, but the adjacent lane as well.

+Never pass a vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk, as they may be waiting for someone to cross.

+Do not pass a school bus when its red lights are flashing, even if it is on the other side of the street.

+Use extra care in areas where children may enter the road from between parked vehicles or other things that block drivers' view of the road. And, watch out for bicycles.

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