School is back in session - make safety paramount!

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Brian Miles
  • 51st Fighter Wing Safety
Across the peninsula, schools are soon beginning the new academic year making it especially important to pay attention to driving. It is imperative that vehicle operators pay attention to their surroundings as students walk to and from school or to bus stops.

Remember, children may not be wearing clothing with a high degree of visibility and most likely don't have a wealth of risk avoidance experience to rely upon. Also, it is often difficult for them to judge distances and vehicle speeds, causing them to misjudge when it is safe to cross the street.

Drivers must offset the potential for tragedy by exercising extreme caution at all times, especially when in proximity to schools or bus stops. School zone speed limits must be strictly adhered to.

It is of equal importance for parents to make sure their children understand their role in ensuring their own safety.
Pedestrian safety tips for children

Young children often cannot judge the speed, distance or size of oncoming vehicles. Teach them that it's best to allow an oncoming vehicle to pass and to always make eye contact with the driver prior to walking across crosswalks.

Crosswalk safety is everyone's responsibility. As pedestrians and motorists, we both have the right to use the roadways and the responsibility to use unimpaired judgment while doing so.
A tip for pedestrians

All pedestrians should allow enough room for traffic to stop safely before crossing at a designated crosswalk. Pedestrians usually have the right-of-way, but not the authority to cross an uncontrolled crosswalk without caution, as it may create an unsafe situation for motorists. Be courteous to motorists by walking as quickly and as safely as possible completely across the crosswalk. In low-light conditions, and at night, make an effort to wear a reflective belt when walking or running for better visibility.

Riding the bus

To help reduce the possibility of any mishaps, children should remember these safety tips:

- Have a safe place to wait for the bus, away from traffic and the street.
- Stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver signals the child to enter.
- When being dropped off, exit the bus and walk 10 giant steps away from the bus, while keeping a safe distance from the bus. Also, remember that the bus driver can see the children best when they are back away from the bus.
- Use the handrail to enter and exit the bus.
- Be aware of the street traffic around you. Drivers are required to follow certain rules of the road concerning school buses. However, they don't always follow these rules, be careful and watch out.
Riding In a car

It is true that most traffic crashes occur close to home. Safety belts are the best form of protection passengers have in the event of a crash. According to the National Safety Council, they can lower the risk of injury by 50 percent. Drivers are four times more likely to be seriously injured or killed if ejected from the vehicle in a crash. Everyone needs to be buckled up properly. This means older children in seat belts, younger children in booster seats and little children in child safety seats.

A tip for motorists
Slow down when approaching crosswalks and do not assume pedestrians will yield or that everyone understands the laws in the same way. When dropping off children make sure it is at a designated drop-off location and not just on the roadways. Ensure everything is done to make this school year as safe and as fun as it can be.