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Safety tips for back to school

With the new school year just around the corner, PennDOT wants to remind everyone to be safe.
One of the biggest safety issues is students getting to and from school, whether they walk, ride the bus, get dropped off or drive themselves.
For children to get back to school safely, motorists, parents, teachers and students must share the burden.
Tips for motorists include slowing down. With children walking to and from school, it is always better to slow down, especially during times arrival and dismissal times.
Drivers must also remember to stop at least 10 feet before reaching a bus that has its red signal lights flashing. They may not proceed until the lights have stopped flashing.
Also, when driving, motorists need to obey all flashing speed limit signs in school zones and always expect the unexpected. Children may dart into traffic, cross streets without looking or play along the side of the road, so motorist need to always be alert.
Don’t assume a child sees your car coming.
According to the PennDOT, children generally have underdeveloped peripheral vision, approximately one-third narrower than that of an adult, so a child will not see a car approaching from the right or left like an adult would.
Parents also need to encourage safety when sending children back to school. Be a good role model, always buckle up when in a vehicle and follow pedestrian laws while walking.
It is also a good idea to explain to children why we must follow these rules.
Also, parents may want to walk with their child a few times to school or the bus stop. While doing so, point out potential trouble spots and demonstrate the safest areas to walk.
Make sure kids wear bright clothing so they are more visible to motorists.
Teen drivers often drive the same routes that younger kids will be walking. Make sure to educate teen drivers to use extra caution in school traffic areas.
Students need to remember and be aware there is a 10-foot area around a school bus called the danger zone where the bus driver cannot see people. Children need to understand the importance of staying out of the danger zone.
PennDOT also lists the following school bus safety tips on its website:
• Get to the school bus stop five minutes early, so as not to have to run across the road to catch the bus;
• When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic. Line up at least five giant steps away from the curb or the roadway to wait for the bus;
• Never run after the school bus if it has already left the bus stop;
• Never push when getting on or off of the school bus;
• Always walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus when crossing;
• Wait until the school bus has stopped all traffic before stepping out onto the road;
• When the school bus is moving, always stay seated. Never put head, arms or hands out of the window;
• Talk quietly; do not distract your school bus driver;
• If the school bus crosses railroad tracks, be calm and quiet so the driver can listen for a train. Always obey the school bus driver’s instructions, so that he or she can make safe decisions;
• Never play with the emergency exits. Backpacks, band instruments, or sports equipment may not block the aisle or emergency exits. If there is an emergency, listen to the driver and follow instructions;
• When getting off of the school bus, make sure that all drawstrings and other loose objects are secure so that they don’t get caught on the handrail or the door;
• Never cross the street behind the school bus;
• If something is left on the bus or dropped outside of the bus, never go back for it. The driver may not see you and begin moving the bus and
• Never speak to strangers at the bus stop and never get into the car with a stranger.
With a little education and extra precaution, area students can go back to school safely.