As more than 55 million students across the United States get ready to start the 2019-2020 school year, AAA urges motorists to slow down and stay alert in neighborhoods and school zones. With new schedules starting once again for many families, it’s critical to be aware of increased child pedestrian and bicyclist activity before and after school hours.
School’s Open – Drive Carefully
AAA’s School’s Open – Drive Carefully campaign reminds motorists to stay vigilant behind the wheel as children and parents get back into school routines.
AAA recommends drivers observe the following guidelines to help keep children safe:
- Eliminate distractions. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing. Children can move quickly; crossing the road unexpectedly or emerging suddenly between two parked cars. Motorists can reduce risk by avoiding cell phone or not eating while driving, for example.
- Slow down. Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
- Come to a complete stop. Research shows that more than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods. Always come to a complete stop, checking carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.
- Reverse responsibly. Every vehicle has blind spots. Check for children on the sidewalk, in the driveway and around your vehicle before slowly backing up. Teach your children to never play in, under or around vehicles.
- Find further information on pedestrian safety to include expert advice and videos at https://exchange.aaa.com/safety/pedestrian-safety/
School Bus Safety
Students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely when taking a school bus instead of traveling in a vehicle. The greatest risk to students is not riding a school bus, but approaching or leaving one. AAA reminds students to:
- Stay a safe distance from the roadway when waiting for the bus to arrive
- Avoid pushing or horseplay
- Get on and off the school bus safely by waiting it to stop, the door gets opened and the bus driver gives the okay.
- Use caution around the bus – never try and pick something up that you have dropped around the bus, tell the bus driver right away