Monday, September 9, 2013

Drive safely - Bergenfield schools open today!

Students in Bergenfield are returning to school today, Monday, Sept. 9, and it is even more important to remember to drive carefully now that classes are back in session.

For parents, it is important to make sure that however your child is getting to school, whether he or she is walking to school, riding a bicycle or taking a school bus, that proper safety precautions are taken. Below are some tips from the National Safety Council, which can also be found here.

Tips to make sure your child is safe while traveling to school:

Walking - Review your family's walking safety rules. Also, practice walking to school with your child.

Riding a bicycle to school - Make sure your child wearing a helmet. Teach children the rules of the road, including riding on the right side of the road in single file and coming to a complete stop before crossing the street.

Riding the bus - Go to the bus stop and teach your child how to get on and off the bus properly. Make sure your child stands at least 6 feet from the curb. If your child needs to cross the street in front of the bus to get on it, teach your child to walk on the side of the road until at lest 12 feet ahead of the bus. The child should always make sure the driver can see her/him and he/she can see the driver.

The National Safety Council also offers Back to School safety tips for motorists, which can be found here. We have also listed them below.

Sharing the road with school buses
  • It is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload school children.
  • Buses use yellow flashing lights to alert motorists they are preparing to stop for children  - whether loading or unloading. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign are signals to motorists that the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off.
  • Traffic in both directions is required to stop on undivided roadways when students are entering or exiting a school bus.
  • Children are in the most danger of being hit in the area 10 feet around a school bus. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children space to safely enter and exit the bus.
  • Be alert. Children can be unpredictable and are more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street.
  • Never pass a school bus on the right.
Sharing the road with child pedestrians
  • Drivers should not block crosswalks when stopped at a red light or waitnig to make a turn.
  • In school zones, stop for a pedestrian crossing the road within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk.
  • Always stop when directed to do so by a school patrol sign, patrol officer or designated crossing guard.
  • Take extra care to look out for children in areas other than school zones as well - such as residential areas, playgrounds and parks.
  • Don't honk your horn, rev your engine or do anything to rush or scare a pedestrian in front of your car.
Sharing the road safely with child bicyclists
  • When passing a bicyclist traveling in the same direction, do so slowly and leave at least 3 feet in between you and the bicycle.
  • Most common causes of collisions are drivers turning left in front of an oncoming bicycle, or turning right, across the path of the bicycle.
  • When your vehicle is turning left and a bicyclist is entering the intersection from the opposite direction, wait for the bicyclist to pass before making the turn. Same applies for if you are turning right and a bicyclist is approaching on the right. Allow the bicyclist to proceed through the intersection before turning.
  • Watch for riders turning in front of you without signaling.
  • Take extra precautions in school zones and neighborhoods where children are more commonly riding.
  • Watch out for bikes coming from driveways or from behind parked cars or other obstructions.
  • Check side mirrors for bicyclists before opening your door.

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