Special to the Courier
With the start of school, students are again rushing to be on time, parents are getting them on their way, and drivers are going about their business.
“This is a critical time of the year,” Ray Palermo, director of public information for Teachers’ Insurance Plan, said. “Drivers need to re-acclimate themselves to having children on and near the road, particularly at rush hours. And, both children and parents need to get back into good traffic safety habits.”
He offered tips from the company’s safety information center.
Riding a bus
• Do not play in the street while waiting for the bus.
• Line up facing the bus, not along side it.
• After getting off the bus, move out of traffic.
• Wait for the driver to signal you to cross the street. Walk away from the front of the bus so the driver can see you.
Walking or biking
• Walk with a friend.
• Pay attention to traffic signals and crossing guards. Never cross a street against a stoplight.
• Cross only at crosswalks, and never run into the street from between parked cars.
• Look left, right and over your shoulder for traffic before crossing a street, and continue to check each direction.
• Make sure drivers see you by making eye contact.
• If riding a bicycle, scooter or skateboard to school, always wear a helmet and ride in the same direction as traffic. Walk your bike if crossing a street.
Parents and drivers
• Everyone should wear a seatbelt, and children should be in appropriate car seats.
• Stay focused on driving and don’t be distracted by kids in the car or with other activities.
• Slow down in school zones. Driving just 5 mph over the speed limit increases both the risk of hitting a child.
• You never know if children crossing the street are paying attention, so remain stopped until the child has crossed not only your lane of traffic, but the adjacent lane as well.
• Never pass a vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk.
• Do not pass a bus when its red lights are flashing, even if it is on the other side of the street.
• Use extra care in areas where children may enter the road from between parked vehicles or other things that block drivers’ view of the road. And, watch out for bicycles.
For more information, go to www.teachers.com/safety