Careful travel key as school opens again

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Scraps of Fourth of July fireworks probably had to be swept away to clean the pavement so crosswalks could be repainted in preparation for the reopening of school this week.

"Time flies like an arrow" according to an old Chinese saying, and we all need to be aware of the changing tempo of life as students return to school.

Drivers seem to need to be reminded that when the yellow flasing lights turn on, the school bus is getting ready to stop, and motorists should slow down and be alert.

Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign mean the bus is stopped, and children are getting on or off.

Drivers in both directions must stop their vehicles and wait until the lights go off, the stop sign is back in place and the bus is moving before they can start driving again.

If it's a teenager in that car, parents must insist, and the law requires, that drivers use their seat belts and avoid texting while driving. It's also a good idea that they avoid cell phone use altogether, and avoid eating or drinking while driving.

The same goes for adult drivers as well, and all drivers need to remember that children are out walking or biking to school, and vehicles must slow down in residential areas and school zones.

Kids riding a bike to school should wear a helmet, obey all traffic signs and ride on the right in the same direction as car traffice.

Kids walking to school should cross only at the intersection, and use a route along which the school has placed crossing guards.

If children are taking a new route or attending a new school, parents should walk them to school at least for the first week to make sure they know how to get there safely.

Check out your school's emergency plan and how you will be notified if an emergency happens. Remind children that the most important thing they can do if an emergency happens at school is to stay calm and listen to directions from the teachers or principal.

Parents should tape a copy of their family's contact numbers and meeting place(s) inside their child's binder, homework notebook and in their book bag.

With a little care, kids and parents worry more about getting their homework done and getting good grades and less about traveling safely two and from school.

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