The clock is ticking on summer vacation, as parents, teachers, and students count the days until school begins (for different reasons). In last week’s blog, we discussed what you, as a driver, can do to help the school year begin more safely. Let’s continue the discussion of school safety, focusing on what parents and students can do to keep the roads and sidewalks safe.
Give yourself time. If you’re driving to a bus stop, plan to arrive five minutes before the scheduled time. Leave early enough so that you don’t have to speed and so children do not have to sprint to the bus as it pulls to a stop. Remember children will be excited or rushed, and by nature, do not pay attention to mundane things like traffic. Remind your children to walk when they approach the bus and to be watchful. They should never dart out from behind or between parked cars.
Be alert. Just as you avoid distracted driving, children need to learn to avoid distracted walking. Before heading to the bus stop or on the walk to school, make sure that items are put away inside the backpack, shoes are tied, etc. Texts, calls and apps can wait, as walking while attending to devices can lead to accidents. Teach children to watch for drivers.
Follow the rules. According to the NHSTA, children are at the most risk when boarding or leaving the bus. Students should stand back and be still when the bus approaches, waiting for it to come to a complete stop. Lingering or walking near the bus can be very unsafe, so students should maintain a distance of at least 10 large steps away when crossing the street or walking alongside. Watch for signals from the driver to proceed or to stop, especially when crossing the road. Never run back toward a departing bus to retrieve an item. Pedestrians should follow all signs, laws, and common sense rules.
Respect the driver. On the bus, students must obey the rules. It is important that parents teach their children that the driver is a very important authority whose job is to keep children safe. Parents and bus drivers can work together to communicate expectations and maintain safety. Most importantly, students need to remain seated while the bus is moving and should not do anything that would distract the driver from the road. They must follow instructions of the driver as well. Questions for the driver and discussions should be saved for when the bus arrives at school.
Go Above and Beyond. Get an A+ in safety by talking with your kids at home before school begins. The NHSTA has an activity book that children can enjoy, as well as other resources for parents.
At Schaefer, we are looking forward to another great school year! Remember to discuss safety with your children, and if you missed tips for drivers, see last week’s blog.