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OUR VIEW - Follow precautions to ensure safety during school year

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:52 PM

It's hard to believe that summer vacation is winding down and a new school year is upon us.

Students at EHOVE and the Berlin-Milan district returned to school today, while Monroeville students head back Thursday and those in other area districts next week. It's a good idea for parents, motorists and students to brush up on their safety habits as the roadways are about to get a lot busier in the mornings and afternoons.

While traveling on a school bus is far safer than riding in a passenger car, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that 11 school-aged pedestrians are killed by school transportation vehicles each year.

Whether they walk, ride their bikes, ride with a parent or take the bus, it behooves parents to teach kids a few tips to assure their safety traveling to and from school. These are courtesy of the American Red Cross:

Line up facing the bus, not along side it.

Do not play in the street while waiting for the bus.

Carry all loose belongings in a bag or backpack.

Never reach under the school bus to get anything that has rolled or fallen beneath it. The bus driver may be sitting too high up to see you.

After getting off the bus, move immediately onto the sidewalk and out of traffic. If there is no sidewalk, try to stay as far to the side of the road as possible.

Wait for a signal from the bus driver before crossing the street. Walk at least 10 steps away from the front of the bus so the driver can see you.

Never cross the street or play behind the school bus.

Tips for pedestrians or bike riders:

Never walk alone always travel with a buddy.

Pay attention to all traffic signals and crossing guards along the way. Never cross the street against a stop light.

Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.

Avoid ill-fitting clothing that could get caught in spokes or pedals or restrict movement, and wear reflective colors and material to be more visible to street traffic.

Walk your bicycle across all intersections.

Tips for car drivers and passengers:

Everyone in the car should wear a seat belt, as they lower the risk of injury in the event of a crash by 45 percent.

Make sure babies and young children are in safety seats at all times, and that safety seats have been properly installed.

Read your car's manual for safety precautions specifically related to the car and its air bags.

Remind teenagers to take extra precautions if they are driving to school or riding with another teenage driver.

And finally, for goodness sakes, keep the cell phones turned off when operating a motor vehicle. People who talk on them while driving are an accident waiting to happen.

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