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School days bring congestion: Yellow school buses are picking up their charges, kids on bikes are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings, harried parents are trying to drop their kids off before work.
It's never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially before and after school.
Schools often have very specific drop-off procedures for the school year. Make sure you know them for the safety of all kids.
More children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program. The following apply to all school zones:
According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they're walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. A few precautions go a long way toward keeping children safe:
If you're driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
On most roads,
bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.
By exercising a little extra care and caution, drivers and pedestrians can co-exist safely in school zones.