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Back-To-School Safety Tips

The dog days of summer are wrapping up. Most of our Minnesota families have taken their vacations. The State Fair is underway. School supplies have been bought, and kids across the state have had their first day of school. As parents we probably feel we have done all we can to help our children prepare for that big day, or have we? Don't forget to include a discussion of bus and walking safety whether they are veterans of walking to school and taking the bus, or new to it all.

Tips for Bus Riders

  • Arrive to the bus stop on time. Try to get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the scheduled time to arrive.
  • Always be alert to traffic and your surroundings while at the bus stop, entering, and exiting the bus.
    • TIP: When getting off a bus, look to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder of the road.
  • Be at least three giant steps (or 6 feet) back from the curb, and line up away from the street.
  • Wait until the bus stops and the driver says that it's okay to enter the bus or cross the road.
    • TIP: Look for the bus safety lights and make sure they are flashing.
  • If you must cross the street in front of the bus when getting on or off the bus, walk on a sidewalk or along the side of the road to a point 5 - 8 giant step (at least 10 feet) ahead of the bus.
    • TIP: The bus driver should be able to see you, and you should be able to see the bus driver. Look left-right-left before crossing to make sure traffic is stopped and keep watching traffic when crossing the road.
  • Use the handrails on the bus. Watch that your clothing or bag straps do not get caught while exiting the bus.
    • TIP: Have your backpack properly on your back to help avoid getting it caught or tripping on it when going up and down the bus steps.
  • NEVER walk behind the bus.
  • If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver! If you try to get it yourself the bus driver may not see you.
  • Remain seated at all times while riding the bus and keep the aisles clear.
  • Don't throw things, shout or distract the driver.
  • Always keep your head and arms inside the bus.

Tips for Walkers and Bus Riders

  • Choose the safest route possible and walk it with your children for practice. Look for the most direct route, with the fewest street crossings and where school safety patrols will be present.
  • Teach children to know and obey all traffic signals and markings, and to obey crossing guards.
  • Look left-right-left before crossing the street and continue to be aware of traffic while crossing.
  • Remind kids not to enter the street from between parked cars or from behind bushes or shrubs. DO NOT DART into the road!
  • Warn your kids to be extra alert of traffic in bad weather. Drivers will have a harder time seeing them.
    • TIP: Don't forget drivers also have a harder time seeing while driving as the sun is coming up and setting. As the days get shorter, remember sunrise and set may be during prime time for kids to be walking to school and walking home from sports.
  • Be a good role model. Show your kids how to be safe pedestrians.

It is more likely for a child to be killed outside of a school bus than for them to be killed as a school bus passenger. Here are some safety tips for motorists to be aware of during and after school hours:

  • DO NOT TEXT WHILE DRIVING.
  • Slow down - be alert.
    • Children may be walking in the street if there are no sidewalks.
    • Watch out for children playing at bus stops. Kids are unpredictable and may dart out expectantly into the road.
    • Even if you are traveling through a school zone after prime time, be aware for late children that may be running across the street without looking.
  • When backing out your driveway or leaving a parking spot on the street, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.
  • Know what the lights mean on a bus:
    • Yellow flashing lights mean the bus is preparing to stop - slow down and prepare to stop your vehicle.
    • Red flashing lights and extended stop arms means that children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars - it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus loading/unloading children. When the red lights are off and the stop sign is withdrawn then drivers can go.
  • Stop your vehicle at least 20 feet from a school bus with red flashing lights and/or its stop arm extended on undivided roads.
    • You are not required to stop for a bus if the bus is on the opposite side of a separated road but stay alert for children.
    • TIP: Change your driving route or schedule so you can avoid bus stops and school zones if possible.
  • It is illegal to pass a school bus on the right. The results of doing that can be tragic!
  • Reduce speeds in and around school zones. Remember there are crossing guards and pedestrians!
    • You must stop for pedestrians at all street corners, for both marked and unmarked crosswalks - every corner is a crosswalk.
    • Always stop for crossing guards when directed.
    • Do not block crosswalks when stopped either. You force pedestrians to walk around your vehicle, putting them into a more dangerous situation.

Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz is here to help if you or a loved one has beeninjured by an inattentive driver. Contact us today at 763-560-0000 or toll free at 800-365-6666.

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