If you haven't noticed, the yellow buses are back on the road -- and that means kids are back in school. That often means an increase in road travel and shifting traffic patterns shift, so this time of year -- along with being busy -- can also be a dangerous one, especially for children.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, more school-age pedestrians have been killed between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. than any other times of day.
So, as kids walk, ride bikes or take a school bus or public transportation to and from school, NHTSA reminds parents and students of safe transportation practices to ensure a safe journey to and from school.
What to do
School buses are the safest mode of transportation for getting children back and forth to school. Even so, kids need to be especially careful around the school bus "danger zone" -- 10 feet in front, 10 feet behind, and on each side of the bus. Kids should:
- Wait five giant steps from the road and when the school bus arrives, wait until the driver says to board.
- When boarding the school bus, quickly find a seat, sit facing the front and do what the school bus driver says to do.
- When exiting the bus, look out for cars. When off the bus, take 5 giant steps from the school bus.
- Look left-right-left to make sure no cars are coming and wait for the driver to signal it's safe to cross.
Pedestrians NHTSA recommend that kids 10 years old and younger be accompanied by an adult or young adult to and from school. Kids should:
- Walk on the sidewalk and if there is none, walk facing traffic.
- Not push or shove others when you walk.
- When crossing the street, look left-right-left for cars. Do not cross if a car is coming and use a crosswalk if available.
The two best protections when biking to and from school are a properly fitted bicycle helmet and a good grasp of traffic safety rules. Kids should:
- Always wear a helmet and make sure to buckle the chin strap.
- Ride along streets with low traffic volume and at lower speeds.
- Always ride in the same direction as traffic, and stop at all stop signs and signals.
- Never use headphones or cell phones while riding.
- Children should always ride in the back seat. Children in the front seat are 40% more likely to be injured in crashes.
One last tip: whether walking, biking or driving, stay completely focused on the road and put your cell phone away.