SHA Back-To-School Safety Reminders

The Maryland State Highway Administration is encouraging everyone to return to basics with road safety, particularly now that school is back in session. By following the tenets of the Choose Safety for Life campaign outlined in B-SAFE — buckle up, slow down speeding kills, always drive sober, focus, everyone share the road everyone gets home — more than 600 lives could be saved every year.

With the opening of schools, drivers are reminded to be vigilant in their travels, particularly in school zones during morning arrival and afternoon dismissal times. Drivers should: Stay alert and give driving your full attention; Be courteous to other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists; Comply with traffic laws including stopping for pedestrians at crosswalks; Avoid aggressive driving; and, Follow the posted speed limit.

When driving near school buses, remember: It is against the law to pass a stopped school bus while its lights are flashing and its stop arm is extended; On undivided roadways with no physical barrier or median, vehicles must stop on both sides of the roadway; Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to load or unload children; Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped, and children are getting on or off. Motorists approaching from either direction must wait until the red lights stop flashing before proceeding.

Parents also should review the rules of the road with their children: Have a safe place to wait for your bus, away from traffic and the street; Stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver signals you to enter; When being dropped off, exit the bus and walk ten giant steps away from the bus; Make sure the driver can see you; Be aware of the street traffic around you.

When walking to school: Cross the street at marked crosswalks and intersections whenever possible; Always stop at the curb or the edge of the road and look left, then right, and then left again before crossing; Choose the quickest and safest route with the fewest street crossings; Use intersections with crossing guards when possible; If vision is blocked by a parked car or other obstacle, move out to where drivers can see you; Obey and follow all traffic signals and/or the crossing guard; Never cross the street against a light, even if you don’t see any traffic coming; Walk your bike through intersections; Walk with a buddy; Wear reflective material to be more visible to street traffic.