AAA warns: Slow down in school zones


The end of summer means millions of children will be back to school.

AAA East Central is reminding drivers to be extra cautious as school zones become more active and be aware of school bus safety.

A pedestrian struck by vehicle traveling at 20 mph is about two-thirds less likely to be killed as compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 30 mph, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

“School zone speed limits are in place to save lives,” said AAA safety advisor Lori Cook. “As families prepare for the upcoming school year, we encourage parents to talk about the importance of school zone safety with their children and teen drivers.”

In addition to slowing down, AAA offers the following advice for motorists to keep children safe as they navigate through school zones:

• Ditch distractions. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing.

• Stay alert. Don′t rush into and out of driveways. Expect pedestrians on the sidewalk, especially around schools and in neighborhoods.

• Stop at stop signs. It sounds obvious, but research shows that more than a third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods.

• Watch for bikes. Children on bicycles are often unpredictable. Expect the unexpected.

• Brake for buses. It may be tempting to drive around a stopped school bus, but not only is it dangerous, it′s against the law.

• Plan ahead. Leave early for your destination and build in extra time for congestion. If possible, modify your route to avoid school zones.