It may still feel like summer, but school is back in session across Alabama. So, for those of us behind the wheel, here’s a refresher class to help keep students safe as they travel back and forth each day:

Safe driving – the basics

  • Drive focused and alert. Avoid use of electronic devices and other distracting behaviors while driving.
  • Ensure everyone in the vehicle is buckled up properly and that children are in the back seat.
  • Obey signs, signals and crossing guards in school zones.
  • Slow down especially with kids walking or biking to school, around bus stops, in school zones and in low light or bad weather.
  • Drop off your child rider so he or she does not have to cross the street.

Consider young pedestrians

  • Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic.
  • In a school zone, when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.
  • Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign.
  • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas.
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.

Safety around school buses

  • Never pass a school bus in either direction on an undivided road, when the bus is stopped to load or unload children.
  • If the bus has yellow or red lights flashing and the stop arm is extended, all traffic must stop.
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stay far enough back to allow them space to enter and exit the bus from any direction safely.
  • Be alert; kids are unpredictable. They tend to ignore hazards and take risks.Be alert; kids are unpredictable. They tend to ignore hazards and take risks.

Kids on bikes – beware

  • When passing a bicyclist, proceed slowly and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist.
  • When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass.
  • If you’re turning right and a bicyclist is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals.
  • Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially tend to do this.
  • Be extra vigilant for kids on bikes in school zones and residential neighborhoods.
  • Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars.
  • Check side mirrors before opening your door.

For more information about safe driving when school is in session, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Safety Council.

Keyanna James for Alabama NewsCenter | © 2017, alabamanewscenter.com

© 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.