As Summer Ends, Drivers must be Vigilant and Aware as School Begins

With summer ending and the start of school just around the corner, drivers need to do their part to keep kids safe as they walk and bike to school. Whether you are taking your kids to school or just driving through a school zone, you can do your part to keep kids safe. Remember these back to school safety tips!

August is designated as Back-to-School Safety Month, and the Safety Council of Palm Beach County, Inc. wants to remind motorists to be extra careful at all times.

Toni Burrows, Director of the Safety Council, states, “It’s even more important for drivers not to be distracted or talking and texting on their phones as driving patterns change, school zone speed limits are enforced, and kids are crossing busy intersections. Turning off your cell phone is one of the smartest things you can do.”

Follow the tips below to make sure you keep your children safe while walking and biking to school.

Here are some simple reminders for drivers:

Bus Safety

  • Motorists are required to stop when approaching a school bus that is stopped with its red lights flashing and STOP arms extended.
  • The only time traffic approaching an oncoming school bus does not need to stop, is if there is a raised barrier such as a concrete divider or at least five feet of unpaved space separating the lanes of traffic.
  • Motorists should be alert and watch for children especially near schools, bus stops, school buses, and in school parking lots.
  • At bus stops, children should wait in a safe place away from the road.
  • Children should never walk behind a bus.
  • Remember, Stop on Red, kids ahead!
  • Learn more

While Driving

  • Slow down and be especially alert in the residential neighborhoods and school zones
  • Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully
  • Watch for children on and near the road in the morning and after school hours
  • Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
  • Put down your phone and don’t talk or text while driving.

Reminder for your kids:

  • They should cross the street with an adult until they are at least 10 years old
  • Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks
  • Never run out into the streets or cross in between parked cars
  • Make sure they always walk in front of the bus where the driver can see them

Dangers of Hyperthermia- Never Leave Your Child Alone in the Car

With the hectic first few days of schools, family routines are changing. This is one factor that can lead to parents accidentally leaving their children in cars. Parents need to understand how quickly a car can heat up, how susceptible children are to heat, and what they need to do to help prevent these tragic deaths.

Children have tragically died from being trapped in a sweltering car or truck – sadly, 780 children have died this way since 1998. It can happen at temperatures as low as the mid-50s. But with heat waves across the country, these horrific incidents are happening far too often. The majority of these devastating stories have taken place in the southern states!

  • Lock cars and trucks.  Thirty percent of the recorded heat stroke deaths in the U.S. occur because a child was playing in an unattended vehicle.
  • These deaths can be prevented by simply locking the vehicle doors and putting keys out of reach to help assure that kids don’t enter the vehicles and become trapped.
  • Create reminders.  Many child heat stroke deaths occur because parents and caregivers become distracted and exit their vehicle without their child.

Every year, thousands of children are hurt or die because a driver moving forward very slowly didn’t see them. These incidents for the most part take place in residential driveways or parking lots and are referred to as ‘frontovers.’ (the opposite of a backover).

Backover incidents also kill or seriously injure thousands of children because a driver backing up didn’t see them. A backover incident typically takes place when a car is backing out of a driveway or parking space. Another hazard is kids setting cars in motion. Always lock your vehicle, so it is not an attractive “toy” to young children.

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