School is back in session and drivers are urged to be ready for more traffic and pedestrians. The LaGrange Police Department advises drivers to be alert for sights and sounds around schools and when approaching bus stops.
“People should give themselves extra time in the mornings because there is going to be more traffic on the roadway,” Officer Wesley Engle said.
Children begin going to their bus stops at dusk, when it is still dark outside, Engle said. Drivers should proceed through neighborhoods with caution and keep headlights on until the sun rises.
“There’s also going to be teenagers who are driving to school for the first time,” he said.
Police advise residents to review the Georgia child passenger safety laws, revised in 2011:
•Children under 1 year old should always ride in a rear-facing car seat and remain facing that way for as long as possible.
•Children ages 4 to 7 should be in a forward facing car seat and transition to a booster seat once they outgrow it.
•Children ages 8 to 12 must be kept in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly.
Safe Kids USA and the Department of Transportation and American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following back to school safety tips:
For all drivers
When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.
When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.
Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus or school may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
Learn the “flashing light signal system” that school bus drivers use to alert motorists of pending actions.
Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped and that children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red light stops flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.
Yellow crosswalk lines may be painted at school crossings. If a pedestrian is at any point in the yellow crosswalk, drivers may not pass through the crosswalk, even when it appears to be safe.
For students who take the bus
Wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb.
Do not move around on the bus.
Check to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street.
Make sure to always remain in clear view of the bus driver.
Always board and exit the bus at locations that provide safe access to the bus or to the school building.
For bicycle riders
Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride.
Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic.
Use appropriate hand signals.
Respect traffic lights and stop signs.
Know the rules of the road.