Editorial: Staying safe on the roads as students head back to school
Students are returning to school next week. That means this message is for those operating motor vehicles during those time frames; drive safely and carefully.
Driving safely should be a precedent for all motorists, but especially during the back-to-school season. Precaution and pre-planning will make differences as the next nine months will see congestion and delays.
Schools offer the option to transport students with buses and drivers are trained to operate a vehicle that can hold up to 70 children. Those drivers must also monitor those children in the process while maneuvering the vehicle. If you’re behind a school bus, exert patience as it will be necessary for safe travel not only for the students, but you as a driver.
Taking unnecessary risks is also something drivers need to carefully consider. If a school bus is holding up traffic, usually the driver will veer off to the side a little bit to allow the vehicles behind them to pass. If the bus continues on the road, either the driver knows that children are at a stop ahead or they see a danger that a person behind them can’t see. An example of this could be a vehicle attempting to pass two vehicles at once. Not only it is illegal, but it poses a real danger (as I witnessed seeing a near crash Tuesday afternoon because of the action).
Another thing for motorists to remember is that children are standing alongside the road. Parents are doing a better job keeping children roughly 10-15 feet away from the roadway. Remember that there are also some teen drivers who are driving to school, meaning that they are experiencing a little more freedom and trust from parents. They will be navigating the roads as well, so time should be factored into this route.
There are two ways parents can help as well with transporting students to school. The first is to have kids ready to board the bus when it approaches. It may be raining one day but stepping out the car when you see the bus approaching instead of waiting for it to get to a complete stop not only keeps the route schedule on time, but it can be safer. Standing under an umbrella instead of running from the house when the bus makes the stop could be the difference in a kid boarding the bus and the kid missing the bus.
The other way parents can assist with transportation is when they drop off their student in the school (especially at elementary schools). When the vehicle pulls up to the drop-off point, make sure your child has everything they need before opening the door. More than often, parents will be waiting for a few minutes before their kid exits the vehicle so those few extra moments and tidbits can be what makes a student have a good day and a great day.
It takes a combination of caution and preparation each year for teachers and administrators to prepare for the hundreds of students returning to classrooms. Let’s make it easier for them by making the roads safer and providing them the support that starts at home. Have a great school year and welcome back to school!