August is Back to School Safety Month.
Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue would like to remind motorists that the school year is about to begin and to be vigilant when driving. Many school routes are poorly designed and pose a serious hazard for children due to the lack of sidewalks or crosswalks, wide roads and speeding drivers. When driving, it is imperative, whether taking your kids to school or driving near a school or bus stop, to be on the lookout for children loading and unloading on the bus or walking and riding to and from school.
Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue Chief Kevin McGee urges pedestrians and drivers to “Put away your phone, turn the radio or music down/off and don’t talk or text when in or near residential neighborhoods and school zones. Avoid distractions by staying focused and alert until you reach your destination safely. If you must answer your phone, move safely to the side of the road before answering.”
Here are additional safety tips:
- Slow down and be alert, especially in residential neighborhoods and school zones.
- Take extra time to look for children 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.
o Put away your phone and don’t talk or text while driving!
- ALWAYS cross the street with an adult, at least up until age 10, when your traffic skills and judgement are better.
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks whenever possible.
- NEVER run out into the street or cross in between parked cars. ALWAYS walk in front of the bus, at least 10 feet, where the driver can see you.
- If waiting for a parent, wait on the same side of the street as the school bus loads and unloads.
- Reduce any distractions while walking or biking so you can concentrate on your surroundings.
o Put away your phone and don’t talk or text until you safely reach your destination!
ADDITIONAL PEDESTRIAN SAFETY TIPS
- Make eye contact with drivers prior to crossing in front of them. Don’t assume the driver can see you because you can see the driver.
- Look left, right and left again when crossing a street and continue looking while crossing.
- It’s safest to walk on a sidewalk, but if you must walk in the street, walk facing traffic
For more information on pedestrian safety, visit the following sites:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/pedestrian_safety/index.html;
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data, iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/pedestrians-and-bicyclists/fatalityfacts/pedestrians
By Prince William Living