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Back-to-School Traffic Safety

School Zone Sign

When the school year's back in session, we know that traffic tends to get congested amidst the bustle of renewed activity. Parents are hurrying to drop off or pick up their children at the curb, school buses are making frequent stops along their neighborhood routes, and children are walking to school or riding there on bicycles. With all of these factors, the likelihood of danger through accidents, injuries and even death increases on our roads. How can we avoid tragedy and keep our communities safe? Here's some fine pointers for everyone in the neighborhood:

Drivers in School Zones

  • Put your cell phone away - it dramatically increases the chances of getting in an accident, and it's illegal in California. Spare yourself a hefty $160 fine and the awful possibility of a collision.
  • Obey speed limit signs in school zones. There's children in the area, and the penalty for violating this rule is significantly higher in these areas.
  • Make sure you drop off and pick up your children in the designated zone in the school parking lot instead of on the street. Children should enter and exit the vehicle only from the side closest to the curb.
  • Notice when there are children gathered at bus stops, and keep an eye out for their safety.
  • Watch out for children who could dart in and out of traffic on their way to class - this goes for right in the school parking lot, as well.

Bicyclists

  • Obey all traffic laws, stopping at all red lights and stop signs.
  • Pay attention to lane markers on the road.
  • Ride near the curb and go in the same direction as traffic.
  • Before crossing the street, make eye contact with drivers so you can be sure they see you.

Pedestrians

  • Use the sidewalk whenever possible! Most accidents with pedestrians occur when they are walking on the road.
  • Always cross at intersections. As a rule of thumb, look left, right, then left again to ensure the way is clear.
  • Check for oncoming traffic when getting off the bus or out of a parked car.
  • If you're a passenger, enter and exit the vehicle only on the side closest to the curb.
  • Before crossing the street, make eye contact with drivers so that they're aware of your presence.

If you can follow these tips and teach your children to practice them as well, you'll go a long way in contributing to your family's safety and a happy, productive school year.

Source: Alexis Cordova of Texas A&M and the Texas Department of Transportation

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