Police Chief Honsey is urging drivers to be extra alert this time of year. “School is open again, and its an exciting time for children, especially youngsters attending school for the first time. Unfortunately, it also means that young, inexperienced pedestrians and bicyclists are in the traffic mix, where they are more likely to be struck by cars,” said Chief Honsey.
Motorists can help reduce the risk to children going to and from school by:
· Slowing down in school and residential areas
· Watching for clues that give warning of children in the area (safety patrols, bikes, adult crossing guards, school buses)
· Obeying school bus stop laws
· Clearing fogged windows before driving
· Obeying all traffic signs
· Avoiding school zones during arrival and dismissal hours
Each year thousands of children are struck by automobiles. Chief Honsey suggests that all parents instruct their children in safe crossing practices before the opening of school. Walking the route to school several times before it opens is recommended.
Instruct children on how to judge if there is adequate time to cross a street. Never enter the roadway from between parked cars. When there is no sidewalk and it is necessary to walk on the roadway, walk on the far left side, facing traffic. Use crosswalks and designated school crossings whenever possible.
Some youngsters, especially those venturing away from home for the first time, may never have learned traffic safety. Other may have forgotten over the summer. Thus drivers need to be cautious, especially around schools, bus stops, and areas where children walk to school.
One clue that can alert drivers to the presence of school children is the familiar orange “Sam Browne” belt worn by School Safety Patrols. These Young leaders, who help their classmates safely across streets, have protected school children and even saved lives for many years.
“Remember, children are greatly influenced by their peers and imitate the actions of adults even if they are poor traffic safety role models,” reminded Chief Honsey. “Excitable and unpredictable students are in traffic areas they may have never experienced before or may have been away from for three months,” Honsey concluded.