by Sharon McLooneLots of little feet are hitting the street next Monday, the first day for most DC schools. Many of those students are getting to school by walking, biking or bus.
The District Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School program has issued an advisory urging drivers and others to take extra precautions when traveling in schools zones and to watch for children.
DDOT’s Safe Routes to School program offers the following back to school reminders and safety tips:
Reminders for Drivers:
- Slow down. Observe the speed limit in school zones at all times.
- Be especially careful when driving on neighborhood streets and around school zones. Always expect the unexpected.
- If your car is parked in an area signed “No Parking School Days,” be sure to move it by the start time on the sign.
- Watch for children on bicycles, especially at intersections.
- Drivers should avoid distractions while driving, such as texting, talking on cell phones, eating and adjusting the radio.
- Stop your car when you see lights flashing on a school bus. Red flashing lights indicate that the bus is stopped and students are getting on or off. Don't start driving until the red lights stop flashing. Be aware that a child may dash across the street.
Safety Tips for Pedestrians:
- Walk in groups, there is safety in numbers. Groups are more likely to be seen by drivers. Consider starting a “walking school bus,” in which an adult accompanies a group of neighborhood children walking to school.
- Cross the street safely:
- Stop at the curb, or the edge of the street.
- Look left, right, left and behind you and in front of you for traffic.
- Wait until no traffic is coming and begin crossing.
- Walk, don’t run across the street.
- Do not text or talk on cell phones while walking and/or crossing street.
Safety Tips for Bicyclists:
- Wear a helmet.
- Look and listen for traffic and other things that could make you fall, like potholes and storm grates.
- Watch for vehicles going in and out of driveways and alleys.
- Keep both hands on the handlebars, except when signaling.
- Stop before crossing the street, entering a road, or turning. Look left, right, left, and behind you for traffic, including pedestrians, bicycles, and cars.
- If you are allowed to ride in the street:
- Ride in single file and in the same direction as cars.
- Ride to the right side of the road, but far enough away from parked cars to avoid any car doors that suddenly open
- Obey traffic laws.
- Be predictable. Ride in a straight line, not in and out of cars. Use hand signals.
- Do not text or talk on cell phones or listen to headphones while biking.