As the summer season winds down, kids everywhere are returning to school. Cottman Transmission & Total Auto Care and its neighborhood car care centers throughout the nation remind parents and drivers to use extra caution to keep our children safe as they travel to and from school.
Back To School Safety
The most obvious thing for drivers is to slow down as they approach school zones, where there will be increased traffic with students walking and biking to schools, or being dropped off by parents and school buses. Drivers should never pass a school bus that is stopped with its blinkers flashing. Patience will help avoid a tragedy. Parents also play a role in helping keep children safe as they head to school, and Cottman encourages them to have a “safety talk” with their kids. Some 26 million students travel to school by bus and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that most pedestrian accidents occur between 7 and 8 a.m. and 3 and 4 p.m., the primary hours for loading and unloading students. NHTSA offers some bus safety suggestions.
- As the bus approaches, stand at least six feet away from the curb and line up away from the street. Wait until the bus stops, the door opens and the driver says that it’s safe before stepping onto the bus.
- If you must cross the street in front of the bus, walk on the sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point at least ten feet ahead of the bus before you cross. Be sure that the bus driver can see you, and you can see the driver.
- When exiting the bus, be careful that clothing and book bag straps don’t get caught in the handrails or doors.
- Never walk behind the bus.
- If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver. Never try to pick it up, because the driver may not be able to see you.
Walking Safely To School
For parents whose students who walk to school, here are some pedestrian safety tips:
- In general, children under the age of ten should not cross a street without an adult.
- Help your child choose a safe route to school in advance of the first day of class. Look for the most direct route with the fewest street crossings.
- Teach your child to stop at the curb or edge of the road, look left, then right, and left again for moving cars before crossing. Continue to look both ways until you reach the other side.
- Tell children to walk, not run.
- Stress the importance of following all traffic signals and markings.
- Warn children not to enter the street from between parked cars or from behind bushes or shrubs, as drivers might not be able to see them.
Biking To School
Similar tips apply to students who bike to school. Parents should:
- Make sure your child always wears a properly fitted helmet.
- Teach children to ride on the right side of the road WITH traffic.
- Teach the proper hand signals and use them when turning or stopping.
- Be sure the child walks, not rides, his bike across the street.
- Stress the importance of paying attention to what others are doing. Come to a complete stop before entering driveways, paths or sidewalks, and look left, right and left again for bikes, cars or pedestrians.
- Don’t let children ride at night.
Teen Driving Safety
For teens who drive themselves to school, a few simple rules should be stressed by parents:
- Make seat belt use mandatory for everyone in the vehicle. In most states, buckling up is the law.
- Prohibit talking or texting on cell phones while driving.
- Limit the number of passengers to one. NHTSA research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of teenagers in the car.
- Forbid alcohol and drug use.
“At Cottman, we do our part to keep your family safe in a car that runs safely and smoothly,” said Randy Wright, President of Cottman Transmission & Total Auto Care. “We encourage our customers and all drivers and parents to exercise caution to be sure our children are safe as they travel to school every day.”