Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back to School Means Watching for Students on or Close to Highways

Classes are beginning in schools soon all across Northwest Missouri, and drivers are urged to be ready for increased student and parent traffic on or near state roads , reminds the Northwest Region Coalition for Roadway Safety. Many schools and bus routes are located on or near state roads, and the coalition wants to ensure everyone arrives alive.
"The motoring public has a responsibility to share the road in a safe and courteous manner with all vulnerable road users," said Jackie Spainhower, regional coordinator of the coalition. "However, pedestrians and bicyclists have primary responsibility for their own safety, and should remember to be extra careful on or near roads and traffic."
Here are some "back to school" safe driving reminders:
  • Expect heavy traffic around schools, with cars dropping off students in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon. Parents behind the wheel may be distracted.
  • Expect students walking and riding bicycles to and from schools or waiting at school bus stops. Notice "School Bus Stop Ahead" signs and be prepared to slow down or stop.
  • Expect school buses starting and stopping and traveling slowly each morning and afternoon. Stop when a bus has its red warning lights flashing and stop sign extended.
  • Slow down where speed limits are reduced at a school, including where flashing lights are installed.
Parents should make sure students know and follow traffic safety rules. Here are a few tips:
  • Use sidewalks where available. If you must walk in the street, walk single file facing traffic and stay close to the edge of the road.
  • Cross streets only at intersections. Don't dart out between cars. When crossing a street -- in a crosswalk or at a corner -- wait until all cars are stopped before stepping out. That means all cars in all lanes in both directions.
  • Walk, don't run. Look both ways. Assume drivers cannot see you.
  • Don't walk distracted. Focus on traffic. Avoid using cell phones, ear buds and hand-held games.
  • Obey signs and signals.
  • When getting off a school bus, look both ways before walking in front of the bus into the street in case an approaching car does not stop. "Don't go back" if you forget something or drop something.
  • In bad weather, with wet or slick pavement, expect cars to take a longer distance to stop.
  • When it's dark outside, make yourself visible. Wear light colors and reflective strips and use a flashlight.
For more information on pedestrian and bus safety, go to You can also call MoDOT at 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (888-275-6636) or log onto. You can also follow MoDOT's Northwest Missouri District on Twitter at or on Facebook at

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