School starting — be mindful of kids and buses on road | In Our Opinion

It’s not just time to pick out new school clothes, sharpen those no. 2 pencils, shop for new binders and zip up the backpacks.

With Oak Harbor and Coupeville schools starting classes this week, parents, students and motorists should be extra alert when traveling on Whidbey Island’s roads.

School children will be walking to and from school, and kids can be unpredictable, stepping into crosswalks without notice or darting across the road on foot or on bicycle.

Children will also be embarking and disembarking buses.

One of the best ways to stay safe and to protect others is to eliminate any distractions to your driving, according to the website www.aaa.com

Not only should drivers remain alert at all times, but so should pedestrians. That means keeping cell phones and other electronics in your pockets and focusing your eyes on the road.

There is no excuse for texting or talking on the phone while driving. It is against the law.

Likewise, students who are walking to school while playing with a phone or other electronic device aren’t as alert as they should be.

Motorists should not hurriedly back into and out of driveways. Children can easily disappear into your mirrors’ blind spot.

Expect that there will be pedestrians at crosswalks, especially around schools and in neighborhoods.

While it may seem obvious, AAA advises motorists to also make full and complete stops at all stop signs. An estimated one-third of drivers don’t come to a complete stop, even though it is legally required.

Rolling through stop signs can lead to preventable injuries.

Plan ahead and allow yourself extra time for possible traffic congestion. When you’re rushing, mistakes are more likely to occur.

Be aware of when walkers may be in the area of the route that you’re taking. If possible, avoid school zones entirely.

Any time pedestrians and vehicles mix, there’s a greater opportunity for an accident. By taking a few very basic precautionary measures, it’s possible to avoid those accidents.

To all of the children, their parents, teachers and others, we wish you a safe, successful and enjoyable school year.


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