AAA Mid-Atlantic says they need to slow when approaching schools.
A new school year is getting underway in Frederick County starting on Monday, August 19th. While students are urged to get ready, AAA Mid-Atlantic is reminding motorists to re-adjust their driving habits. "Motorists have had all summer where when they're approaching or near school zones, that there have not been many children, or very little activity there," says AAA spokeswoman Ragina Averilla. "So they need to re-acquaint themselves with the fact that we will be having children and pedestrians in the area of school zones as early as next week.:
Averilla says drivers need to slow down in school zones as there will be children walking to or from school, parents letting off their kids, and school buses taking on or dropping off children.
She also says it's especially important for motorists to remember what they need to do when approaching a school bus on the roads. "We certainly remind motorists always, not sometimes, always, to stop for loading and unloading school buses," she says. "It may be tempting to ride around a school bus if you're in a rush. But it's extremely dangerous and it's against the law."
AAA says when you see the flashing yellow lights on a school bus, you must slow down and get ready to stop. When the red lights are activated and the cross arm is extended, all drivers need to come to a complete stop so that children can get on or off the bus safely. After the red lights stop flashing and the cross arm is retracted, motorists can resume driving.
Even though there's an emphasis on drivers, Averilla says children need to play it safe as well, especially if they're walking to school. She says they need to know the ABC's of safety. "A, being always obey school crossing guards and AAA School Safety Patrols. B, look both ways every time they cross the street. And C, make sure they use crosswalks and corners to cross the roads, even when cars are not around," says Averilla.
She says motorists are also reminded to look out for children who sometimes dart out into traffic between parked cars. "Nearly 40% of child pedestrian fatalities occur between the hours of 4:00 PM and 8:00 PM, and mostly at non-intersection locations as children may dart out in between parked cars," says Averilla.
And, as always, drivers are urged to come to a complete stop at all stop signs and red lights. "Research shows that more than one-third of drivers actually roll through stop signs in schools or neighborhoods, that they don't come to a complete stop," Averilla says. "We want them to make sure that they're obeying the traffic signals and stop signs at intersections and be sure to come to a complete stop."