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Talk to your kids about road safety this school year

As our children head back to school, backpacks and lunch boxes in tow, it is a good time to think about reviewing road safety tips. During the summer months, it is easy to forget about how the rush of an early school morning can quickly lead to dangerous behavior.

Whether your children ride the bus, walk to school or are driven by a parent, you should take a moment to talk to your kids about back-to-school safety.

Bus safety

When teaching your kids about bus safety, you want to be sure they know what to do both on and off the bus. For instance, when they are waiting for the bus to arrive, teach your kids to take five big steps back from the bus stop. This way, you will ensure they are far enough away from the road while they are waiting.

When on the bus, kids need to stay in their seats, facing the front. Finally, when getting off the bus, children should always look for cars first and walk safely to the sidewalk or side of the road.

Pedestrian safety

If you are lucky enough to live close to your child's school, make sure your youngster knows how to safely walk to school. Kids should always walk on the sidewalk and cross in designated crosswalks, when possible. Make sure your child knows how to follow the traffic signals, and will only cross the street when the green walk signal is visible.

It is also a good idea to talk to your young pedestrian about the dangers of distractions. If your child walks to school with a group of friends, make sure they know that they need to stop their conversations for a moment before crossing the street, to make sure there aren't any cars coming. For older children, serious risks arise when they use cellphones or listen to music on headphones when on the way to school. If they are distracted by their phone and can't hear vehicles on the road because of their headphones, a severe accident could result.

Safety tips for parents

Kids aren't the only ones who need to make sure they are being safe on the road this school year. When you're rushing to get to work, it can be easy to overlook a school zone and speed through.

In California, the speed limit in school zones, when children are there, is 25 mph. When you're driving through a school zone, you should always be alert and look for children nearby, particularly right before and after the school day.

As always, you should not drive while distracted when in school zones. Not only should you avoid using your phone when driving, you should also refrain from putting on makeup, eating breakfast or other behaviors that take your attention away from the road.

Following these tips can help ensure you and your children have a safe school year.

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