Getting To and From School Can Get Dangerous

Here are some things to talk to your kids about before sending them on their way to school.


As summer winds down, kids across Menlo Park and Atherton are heading back to school.

Therefore, it's important for parents, children and drivers to be extra careful on the roads.

“Many children will be going to school for the first time, so they may not be careful when crossing the street or running to catch the bus,” said Vince Burks, a senior assistant vice-president with Amica Insurance. “Older children know the routine, but may forget basic safety rules in their excitement to catch up with old friends or start classes in a new school.”

That’s why motorists need to be very careful, especially while driving in residential areas and school zones, Burks said.

“It’s important to slow down when approaching kids walking or riding their bikes, because they can be unpredictable and dart in front of you at any time.”

Parents should also take time to talk with their children about important safety rules.

The National Safety Council offers these safety reminders:

  • Children who walk to school should use sidewalks whenever possible. On streets with no sidewalks, walk on the side of the road that faces traffic.
  • Children riding bicycles to school should always wear helmets. They should also ride on the right side of the road, single-file, following all rules of the road.
  • Children taking buses should get to their bus stops early and stand far back from the curb, especially when a bus is approaching.
  • Bus riders should always walk in front of a bus, where the driver can see them, and get on or off a bus when the driver says it’s okay.
  • Children should always stay seated on the bus until it has completely stopped.

“Children also should be reminded to cross streets at corners, using crosswalks and traffic signals when available,” Burks said. “And before crossing the street, they should stop and look [in all directions] to see if a car is coming – and make sure the driver sees them.”

Motorists also need to use extra caution, especially before and after school, Burks said.

Here are five quick reminders for driving during common drop-off and pick-up times in school zones:

  • Watch for children at intersections and in crosswalks, especially those with no crossing guards.
  • Take extra care when entering or exiting driveways.
  • Beware of children darting out from between parked cars.
  • Be careful when following or approaching a school bus, especially near bus stops.
  • Never pass a school bus on the right, and stop for any school bus that is stopped with its lights flashing while children are entering or exiting the bus.

Another risk comes into play with older students who will drive themselves to school for the first time this year, Burks said.  They are sharing the roads and parking lots with other new drivers, so it is important to remind them to be especially cautious when driving to and from school.

“The start of the school year is a good time for us all to review these basic safety rules,” Burks said. “We all need to work together to protect children so they have a safe, fun school year.”

- Courtesy of Amica Insurance

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Lorri Lee Lown August 20, 2012 at 04:08 PM
A good reminder to parents and other folks who are driving children to school is that there are other road users, too. When folks are focused solely on the school, their own children, or their schedule (especially when running late), they can miss other road users. Distracted drivers, especially near schools, can be a danger to cyclists, pedestrians, and other road users. Please use caution, especially when parking or pulling out from parking spots.


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