As summer draws to a close and children start heading back to school, family life can get pretty hectic. It’s important to remember, and share with your children, some key tips that will help keep them safe throughout the school year.
Whether children walk, ride their bicycle or take the bus to school, it is vitally important that they, and the motorists around them, take proper safety precautions.
- Walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk and you must walk in the street, walk facing traffic
- Before crossing the street, stop and look left, right and left again to see if cars are coming
- Never dart out in front of a parked car
- Parents: Practice walking to school with your child, crossing streets at crosswalks when available
- Never walk while texting or talking on the phone
- Do not walk while using headphones
- Always wear a helmet that is fitted and secured properly
- Children need to know the rules of the road: Ride single file on the right side of the road, come to a complete stop before crossing the street and walk the bike across
- Watch for opening car doors and other hazards
- Use hand signals when turning
- Wear bright-colored clothing
- Teach children the proper way to get on and off the bus
- Line up 6 feet away from the curb as the bus approaches
- If seat belts are available, buckle up
- Wait for the bus to stop completely before standing
- Do not cross in front of the bus if possible, or walk at least 10 feet ahead until you can see the other drivers
Drivers, share the road:
- Don’t block crosswalks
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and take extra care in school zones
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
- Never pass a bus loading or unloading children
- The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them to safely enter and exit the bus
- Arkansas law prohibits the use of a cell phone in a school zone.
In a press release from Arkansas State Police, they noted that “we will be focusing on school bus and school zone laws, since its already that time of the year again! Pay attention, watch for stopped school buses, and slow down in school zones!” You can be certain of local law enforcement’s presence on and near campuses as well.
Drivers should pay close attention to the speed limit signs, noting that during school hours, the speed limit is 25 mph. Arkansas statute 27-51-212 further states: “No person shall operate a motor vehicle in excess of twenty-five (25) miles per hour when passing a school building or school zone during school hours when children are present and outside the building.”
School administrators, teachers and staff across our coverage area have been busy preparing for the first day back. Safety is always a top concern for both the school and parents. Knowing the pickup/drop-off policies at your child’s school beforehand will help ease initial tensions.