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Back to School: Staying Safe on the Road

school safetySummer is quickly drawing to a close, and children of all ages are preparing to head back to school. Many health and safety concerns accompany the start of each school year for parents and students, but with the increase of school buses and teens on the road, the traffic-related risks affect everyone. Follow these tips to stay safe on the road as classes get underway.

School Year Traffic Safety Tips

Pay attention to school zones and cross walks.

Whether you’ll be dropping your children off at school or passing through a school zone on your commute, plan ahead for changes in traffic patterns. Give yourself extra time to accommodate reduced speed limits in these areas, and be especially cautious when driving through cross walks frequently used by students. If possible, find an alternate route to avoid the heavy concentration of traffic altogether. National Safety Council offers more tips for safely navigating school traffic.

Know how to share the road with buses.

Sharing the road with a school bus can be frustrating, especially if you run into one on a route with frequent stops. However, failing to stop for a school bus can result in harsh legal penalties or, worse, the injury of a child. All motorists should know how and when to pass a school bus, what the different types of lights represent and when it is legally required to stop. Brush up on the basics using our guide.

Be aware of increased risks for teen drivers.

Establish rules and expectations with your teen driver before the start of the school year. Passengers are an often-overlooked risk factor for inexperienced drivers, and should be kept to a minimum whenever possible. In Ohio, newly licensed drivers are limited by law to one non-family member passenger. Distracted driving is another major problem area for teens. Set a good example by refraining from texting or talking on the phone behind the wheel.

Help prevent hot car deaths.

Those who have or care for young children will probably be forced to adjust to new schedules and travel routes in the coming weeks, and changes in routine are one of the contributing factors often cited by caretakers who have forgotten a child in a vehicle. Effective Aug. 31, a new Good Samaritan law protects Ohioans who take action to rescue a child from a hot car. Learn about the steps you can take to prevent these tragedies.

Despite these risks, the start of the school year is a very exciting time. Enjoy your final days of summer, and stay safe once classes begin!