Summer days grow shorter and communities across America prepare for an annual ritual: the first day of school. It’s a time when parents breathe a sigh of relief, students anticipate new challenges, and when all of us need to put safety first.
The start of school is among the most dangerous times of the year for children. This is when our children are at an increased risk of injuries from pedestrian, bicycle, school bus and motor vehicle crashes.
At the beginning of the school year more children are on the road each morning and afternoon and many drivers’ patterns change. Shorter daylight hours make it especially difficult to see young pedestrians and bicyclists.
The following tips can help make this a safe and happy school year for the whole community.
Motorists: Be Alert
• Slow down and obey traffic laws and speed limits, especially around schools.
• Stop for school buses that have stopped to load or unload passengers. It’s the law.
• Watch for children walking in the street, playing and gathering near bus stops and those arriving late for the bus.
• Watch for young people who may be in a hurry to get to school and may not be watching out for cars.
Parents: Teach Safety
• Help children learn the safety rules for walking, bicycling, or riding in a passenger car, school bus or transit bus.
• Supervise children while they walk or bike to school or as they wait at the bus stop.
• Buckle up when you’re riding in a car and ensure all children and passengers are buckled up also.
• Place children in the backseat when riding in the car. It’s the safest place.
• Be a good role model. Practice the safety rules you teach to children.
Students: Be Smart
• Wear a helmet and follow traffic safety rules when riding your bike.
• Use available sidewalks or stay to the far left of the street when walking to school, or to the bus stop.
• Cross at the crosswalks when walking to school or to the bus stop, obey all traffic signs, stop lights and safety patrol instructions.
• Find a safe place to wait for the bus, away from traffic and the street.
• Stand at least five giant steps away from the curb and wait your turn to get on the bus safely.
• Be a good role model. Help other students learn and practice the safety rules.
Start the school year off safely and you’ll start it off right.
For more information on school safety, visit the Keeping Your Family Safe at www.countryfinancial.com under the “Tools and Resources” tab.
• COUNTRY Financial Representative Marcia Kennedy, whose office is located at 1640 S. Stapley Drive in Mesa, may be reached at (480) 325-1521, ext. 232.