The end of August marks the start of school for many children in Connecticut and elsewhere. Drivers across the state need to recognize the hazards faced by students walking to school, riding their bicycles or waiting at the bus stop. Additionally, parents can also take note of the risks and teach their children the safety rules for walking or bicycling near traffic.
August is recognized as Back to School Month by the National Safety Council. Drivers are often unaccustomed to sharing the roads with children on their way to school, as well as increased traffic from buses and parents driving their kids to class. Parents can talk to their children about the following precautions:
- Stay on the sidewalk whenever possible, and always cross the street at a crosswalk or designated crossing area at intersections.
- Walk in the opposite direction of traffic and make sure vehicles have stopped before crossing the street.
- Avoid looking at devices while walking and never horseplay with friends around traffic.
- When crossing the street in front of a school bus, keep at least 10 feet in front of the bus and cross when the safety arm is extended and the warning lights are flashing.
In 2017, 48 pedestrians and three bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents in Connecticut, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Some of these unfortunate victims may have been children on their way to or from school. When parents, students and drivers are aware of the dangers, more tragedies may be prevented as the school season begins.