It may still feel like summer, but school is back in session across Alabama. So, for those of us behind the wheel, here’s a refresher class to help keep students safe as they travel back and forth each day:
Safe driving – the basics
- Drive focused and alert. Avoid use of electronic devices and other distracting behaviors while driving.
- Ensure everyone in the vehicle is buckled up properly and that children are in the back seat.
- Obey signs, signals and crossing guards in school zones.
- Slow down especially with kids walking or biking to school, around bus stops, in school zones and in low light or bad weather.
- Drop off your child rider so he or she does not have to cross the street.
Consider young pedestrians
- Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic.
- In a school zone, when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.
- Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign.
- Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas.
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
Safety around school buses
- Never pass a school bus in either direction on an undivided road, when the bus is stopped to load or unload children.
- If the bus has yellow or red lights flashing and the stop arm is extended, all traffic must stop.
- The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stay far enough back to allow them space to enter and exit the bus from any direction safely.
- Be alert; kids are unpredictable. They tend to ignore hazards and take risks.
Kids on bikes – beware
- When passing a bicyclist, proceed slowly and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist.
- When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass.
- If you’re turning right and a bicyclist is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals.
- Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially tend to do this.
- Be extra vigilant for kids on bikes in school zones and residential neighborhoods.
- Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars.
- Check side mirrors before opening your door.