Back to School Safety Starts with Smart Transport

As parents and students readjust to the hustle and bustle of a new school year, it’s important to remember to put safety first. Whether you’re walking, driving, biking or busing your littles to school (or the bus stop), here are some key transportation safety tips courtesy of the National Safety Council (NSC) to help you get started on the right foot.

If your family is walking to school or the bus stop, discuss your overall game plan with your kiddos before setting off, suggests the NSC. If there’s a sidewalk on your route, be sure to use it! However, if a sidewalk isn’t an option and you are forced to walk on the street, walk facing the oncoming traffic. When readying to cross the street, stop and look left, right and then left again to check for oncoming traffic. Before crossing through a crosswalk, be sure to make eye contact with

drivers in both directions. Also make sure to always use the crosswalk and don’t J-walk. Always stay alert and avoid distracted walking by following advice like “heads up/phones down,” per the NSC.

If you’re biking to school or the bus stop, and similar to walking, have a conversation with your child about the rules of the road and practice your route before heading out, said the NSC. When embarking on your route, be sure to ride on the right side of the road along with the flow of traffic in single file. Completely stop

when readying to cross a street and then walk your bikes across the street. Also be alert and avoid becoming distracted while riding your bikes, and finally, be sure your child is wearing a properly fitting helmet and bright clothing, said the NSC.

Planning to drive your child to school or the bus stop? The NSC cautions families to naturally always stay alert and avoid distracted driving. Drivers should always be mindful of and obey school zone speed limits and follow the school's drop-off procedure. It’s also important that drivers make direct eye contact with any children waiting to cross the street. Be careful never to pass a bus loading/unloading children and also stop far enough back to allow them space to stay safe,

according to the NSC.

Families planning to have their children take a bus to school should review the bus safety rules and practice with them, suggests the NSC. The first few times, parents should go to the bus stop with their child to help them learn how to correctly get on/off the bus. Parents should also teach their children to stand 6 ft. (or three giant steps) away from the curb. If children need to cross the street in front of the bus, they should be taught to walk along the roadside until they are 10 ft. ahead of it and then cross when it’s clear the driver can see them, per the NSC. Click here for more tips on bus safety.