School is back in session and there are a few things on a parent’s checklist: a first day of school picture, a backpack full of supplies, and a packed lunch. But the most important item to remember, is not tangible: safety! Schools in Georgia are returning to in-person teaching, which means a higher volume of vehicles and buses on the road. This higher volume combined with the need to be punctual can be a dangerous combination. Here are a few tips to keep drivers and pedestrians safe in school zones:
Tips for Back-to-School Driving
Driving near a School Zone
- Always stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk when flashers are blinking.
- Don’t text and drive, and if you need to use your phone, pull over to a safe spot. It is illegal to have your phone in hand while driving according to GA law.
- Keep an eye out for distracted students on their phones.
- Loading and unloading children in the designated areas prevents having to cross potentially dangerous streets.
- Blocking a crosswalk could force a pedestrian to walk around your vehicle, and potentially into moving traffic.
- SLOW DOWN and be extra watchful.
Driving near a School Bus
- Leave extra room between yourself and a school bus when driving.
- Keep an eye out for the flashing lights on a bus that warn other drivers of upcoming stops. Yellow flashing lights mean slow down. Red lights mean stop.
- The red STOP sign on a bus indicates that traffic should stop on both sides, until the student crosses over to their destination.
- Give them space – the 10 feet around a school bus can be the most dangerous for a student, so make sure to leave enough space for them to safely enter or exit the bus.
Tips for Parents to Give their Children
Taking the Bus to School
- Don’t rush! Take your time and watch your steps getting on and off the bus. Use the handrailing for extra balance support.
- Always wait at the designated spot for the bus to come to a complete stop before entering or exiting the bus.
- Buckle up if seat belts are available.
- Make sure the driver can see you at all times. If you need to cross in front of the bus, walk at least 10 feet in front of it to make sure they know you are there.
Walking to School
- Keep your senses alert! Earphones and cells phones can distract from nearing vehicles.
- Always walk on the sidewalk if it’s available. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
- Don’t jay-walk! Always cross the street at crosswalks or intersections.
- Always look left and right before crossing the street to make sure no cars are coming.
- There is safety in numbers! The more people that walk together, the more visible you are to drivers.
- Stranger Danger! Never accept a ride from a stranger. Do not respond or acknowledge them. Head to the closest safe spot like a store or restaurant. Yell for help if you feel that you’re in danger.
If you have any more questions about how to help your children get back to school safely, contact the office today.