Once again, back to school

  • Published
  • By Richard Fleming
  • AEDC Safety

One morning soon you will head to work and notice there is more traffic on the roads. Some vehicles will have excited children, some will have young new drivers, and some will be big yellow school buses.

Yes, it is back to school time.  School starts the first couple of weeks of August for more than 83,000 K-12 students in the counties surrounding Arnold Air Force Base.

Parents may be distracted while driving as they try to learn school zone and carpool drop off locations. Children will be waiting for their bus to come or may be rushing to get to the bus stop. Then there are the teenage high school drivers.

What does any of that have to do with me you ask? The increased numbers of pedestrians, bicyclists, car riders, school buses and brand-new drivers that will be sharing the road with you should cause us all to be extra diligent.

Checkout the following safety tips to help your student get safely to school.

·         Be sure your children know to use sidewalks and crosswalks, look both directions, and pay attention to crossing guards.

·         If you drive your child to school, obey school zone speed limits along with school drop off procedures. Try to avoid driving distracted and keep a lookout for wayward children. Be alert and follow the direction of the school personnel.

·        If your student rides a bus, like 82% of all Tennessee students, be sure they are comfortable about where to get on and off the bus and to stand six feet (or three giant steps) away from the curb while waiting. If your children must cross the street to reach the bus teach them to watch the bus driver and follow their directions.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), school buses are the most regulated vehicles on the road. They are designed to be safer than passenger vehicles in preventing crashes and injuries and in every state, stop-arm laws exist to protect children from other motorists.

When you see a school bus remember these simple rules:

•        Yellow flashing lights on a school bus mean slow down. Don’t speed up as the bus is preparing to stop. There are likely students waiting to get on the bus or parents waiting nearby to pick up children.

•        Red flashing lights mean stop. Wait at least 20 feet behind the bus allowing children to get on or off the school bus. Stay stopped until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving.

•        Never pass a bus that is loading or unloading children.

If your student drives to school remind them that car crashes are the number one cause of death for teens. Set a good example by driving like you want your teen to drive.

Whether children walk, are driven, or take the bus to school, it’s important they take proper safety precautions and be aware of their surroundings. With school starting, we should be especially courteous knowing that some of the most precious cargo possible are joining us for our daily commute.