With the start of the new school year just around the corner, drivers are urged to use caution, especially in school zones.
Claremore Police Chief Stan Brown wants to remind everyone that by following some simple safety tips the community can all ensure that returning students are safe.
In a word of caution to motorists, Brown said, “Slow down. Be especially careful when driving on neighborhood streets and around school zones, always expect the unexpected. Be alert for children walking to and from school as you back out of your driveway or leave your parking garage.”
“Watch for children on bicycles, especially at intersections and driveways. Young bicyclists have a tendency to dart out of driveways without looking for traffic,” he said. “Stop your car when you see lights flashing on a school bus. Red flashing lights indicate that the bus is stopped and students are getting on or off.”
Brown said drivers should not start driving until the red lights stop flashing and to be aware that a child may dash across the street.
“When you approach a school bus picking up a child, it is the law to stop. When the flashing lights come on and the red stop sign extends that means STOP,” he siad.
For those who drive students to school, Brown said:
•Allow yourself enough time to get to school and then to work. Leave earlier to avoid the potential “to speed” getting to your destination on time.
•Make sure that your child is in their safety seat or restrained properly when you are taking them to school. Every person in the vehicle must buckle up.
•Pay extra attention at crosswalks. Take an extra look to be sure that no students are crossing.
• Obey all signs, safety patrol and officers in your school zone. They are there to
make the drop-offs and pick-ups run smoother.
• Drop children off as close to school as possible. If possible, avoid the need for children to cross the street.
• Follow all posted speed limits.
“Parents, does your child ride a bicycle to school? Remember, state law requires anyone under the age of sixteen to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. It is not just the law--it is a good idea for everyone,” he said.
“Remind children to look to the right before they step off the bus. Drivers in a hurry sometimes try to sneak by buses on the right,” he added. “Make sure they leave home on time so that they can walk to the bus stop and arrive before the bus is due. Running can be dangerous. Teach your children to secure loose drawstrings and other objects that may be caught in the handrail or door of the school bus as they are exiting.
He says to warn children that if they drop something near the bus they should never ever pick it up. Instead, they should tell the bus driver and follow the driver's directions. If they bend over to pick up a dropped object, they might not be seen by the driver and could be hurt if the bus pulls away from the stop.
“Go to the bus stop with a young child and have older children walk in groups. There is safety in numbers because groups are easier for drivers to see,” Brown said. “ If you decide to meet your child at the bus stop after school, wait on the side where the child will be dropped off, not across the street. Children can get so excited at seeing you after school they might forget safety rules and dash across the street.”