AAA is reminding motorists that our summer vacation from school zone safety is almost over – classes will soon be back in session. Oklahoma City public schools return Monday, Aug. 5 and surrounding metro suburbs go back over the following two weeks.
“A new school year brings a lot of excitement, so it’s easy for children to become preoccupied on their way to and from school,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “Drivers must use extra caution when traveling near schools, especially at the start of the school year.”
Safety advocate AAA wants parents to keep the ABCs of Safetyin mind as Oklahoma children head back to the classroom:
Avoid distractions: Research from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing. Stay focused on driving and set a good example for young passengers.By the numbers: Teach children their home phone numbers and addresses, your work phone numbers and how to dial 9-1-1.Chart your course: Map out a route to school or the bus stop and walk it with your child beforehand. Choose a direct route with the fewest street crossings or with intersections that have crossing guards or AAA Safety Patrolers. Avoid walking by parks, vacant lots and other sparsely populated places.Don a helmet: Kids who bicycle always should wear a helmet. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent.Exemplify safety: Do not exceed 15 miles per hour in or near a school zone. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 15 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed as compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling 25 mph. Remember that fines double when “STOP WHEN CHILDREN IN CROSSWALK” signs are present. Also remember, school zones are non-passing zones. Always stop for buses that are loading or unloading students. It is illegal to pass a school bus with flashing red lights.Forego strangers: Teach kids never to accept rides or gifts from strangers.Grab a buddy: Have kids walk to school with a relative, friend or neighbor.
If your child will be walking or bicycling to school, AAA advises parents and caregivers to review safety precautions with them. Children should be taught to walk only on sidewalks and cross only at crosswalks. Also, make sure they know to avoid walking in front of or between parked cars. And, remind children to always obey crossing guards and AAA Safety Patrolers.
If your teen will be learning to drive this school year, AAA’s teen driver website, Keys2Drive, provides state-specific licensing information, statistics, driver training tips and resources for parents and teens. And AAA Oklahoma’s parent-taught driver’s ed. kit,Take the Wheel, allows parents to teach their teen to drive from scratch, qualifying for up to a 25 percent discount on AAA Insurance Co. auto insurance and the standard driver’s ed. discount offered by most major insurance companies. Go to www.AAA.com/TakeTheWheel.
AAA.com/trafficsafety is a resource for useful, life-saving advice and tools, free and open to the public.