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Back to school: AAA offering drivers safety tips for upcoming year

DAYTON — Drivers are being advised as the roads will be crowded with school districts beginning the new year.

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This time of the year can be dangerous due to the combination of young inexperienced drivers, school buses, students walking to school, and bicyclists all sharing the road, a AAA spokesperson said.

“Drivers may be out of practice when it comes to the rules of the road, with school buses hitting the streets and students walking and biking to school,” said Kara Hitchens. “But our responsibility for keeping students safe hasn’t changed.”

School districts also resume class on different dates and drivers may encounter different situations in areas, AAA said.

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Here are some of the safety tips AAA suggests:

Drop-Off/Pick-Up Safety Tips

  • Follow school drop-off and pick-up procedures, and be mindful that these may have changed.
  • Don’t double park. It blocks visibility for other children and vehicles.
  • Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school.

School Bus Safety Tips

  • Always Stop for School Buses – Flashing yellow lights on a school bus indicate it is preparing to stop to load or unload children and motorists should slow down and prepare to stop. Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on and off. Motorists are required to stop their vehicles and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again. It’s the law and can result in a hefty fine if you don’t.
  • Keep Track of Time – Be aware of the time of day you’re on the road and how that coincides with the school day. More school-age pedestrians are killed from 7 to 8 a.m. and from 3 to 4 p.m. than any other hours of the day.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

  • Cross only at corners so drivers can see you. Never cross between parked cars or mid-block.
  • Use a crosswalk when it’s available. Don’t assume that because you can see the driver, the driver can see you. Always use caution when crossing.
  • Look all ways before crossing. Look and listen for cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
  • Once you have confirmed traffic has stopped, cross when the light indicates it is safe to cross without further hesitation so you have time to cross safely.

Bicycle Safety Tips

  • Make sure your child has the skills to ride a bike safely, such as riding in a straight line and signaling to vehicles when turning.
  • Choose the safest route to bike to school, one with less traffic and slower speeds. Use bike paths if they are available.

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They added the key for drivers is to remain vigilant.

“No matter the plan, no matter the mode of transportation, everyone needs to remain vigilant – put down the phone, look up, and pay attention to help students get to and from school safely,” says Hitchens.

To see when school starts in your district, visit this webpage.

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