As students return to school throughout Wood County, remember to be on the lookout for more young pedestrians and bicyclists and be particularly cautious when traveling through school zones and near bus stops.
Motorists have likely adjusted over the summer to the absence of school buses on the road. Now is the time for increased awareness. Be conscious of school buses carrying precious human cargo. When you see a bus with flashing yellow lights, slow down and prepare to stop. When those lights are flashing red, all other vehicular traffic must stop for the safety of the children loading and unloading from the bus.
School zones as well are active once again. Re-familiarize yourself with your daily driving patterns. If you have transited an inactive school zone during the summer months, you can expect greatly reduced speed limits during certain times of the day when children are present. Watch carefully at crosswalks that may utilize crossing guards. Obey the crossing guards’ orders to stop or proceed; they are monitoring the safe crossing of children in their charge.
In neighborhoods near schools, you may see an increase in bicycle and foot traffic of children who live close enough to travel to school on their own. Always be alert and expect the unexpected. You never know when that bicyclist may decide to weave back and forth on the road or jump from road to sidewalk and back.
For parents sending kids to school, you are encouraged to take the time to review good safety habits with your children. If your child will walk to school, go over the route together before school starts. Point out where crossing guards will be and remind your child to use sidewalks at all times and to stay away from hazards such as railroad tracks.
For bus riders, review beforehand you expectations for safe behavior and make sure your child knows where and how to get on the bus safely and what to do if he or she feels threatened.
One of the most preventative measures against traffic injuries is being on time and organized. When parents and kids rush to arrive at the last minute, safety rules and caution may be forgotten. Kids dash across the street and parents roll through stop signs – that’s how accidents happen. It’s a challenge, but adding 15 minutes to your morning routine can dramatically decrease the risks to your family and to others.