As children across the state head back to school, AAA is providing tips for everyone’s safety – and a special gift for our teachers, who often go the extra mile to support their students.
“First and foremost, AAA is reminding drivers to be aware of the increase in traffic around school zones including pedestrians and bicyclists making their way to and from school,” says Jim Lardear, spokesperson for AAA. “AAA encourages everyone to slow down, limit distractions and look out for each other during this busy time.”
This time of year is particularly dangerous due to young, inexperienced drivers, school buses, student pedestrians, and bicyclists all sharing the road in the early morning and afternoon hours. Through its annual ‘School’s Open – Drive Carefully’ public awareness campaign, AAA aims to help reduce fatalities and injuries among child pedestrians and others during this time of increased risk.
More school-age pedestrians are killed between the hours of 3 and 4 p.m. than any other time of day.
AAA Offers 7 Lifesaving Lessons for Back-to-School Safety
- Eliminate distractions. Drivers AND pedestrians should limit distractions. The beginning of the school year is the perfect time to have a conversation with children about looking up and looking out for motorists when crossing the street. Adults can set an example by promising to put their phones away when behind the wheel and taking the pledge not to drive ‘intexticated.’ Parents can demonstrate their commitment by signing the pledge not to drive ‘intexticated’ at www.aaa.com/dontdrivedistracted.
- Brake for buses. It is against the law to pass a school bus when red lights are flashing and the safety bar is extended. Even when you are free to pass, proceed with caution.
- Slow down. Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
- Watch for bicycles. Children on bikes are often inexperienced, unsteady, and unpredictable. Expect the unexpected. Slow down and allow at least three feet of passing distance between your vehicle and the bicyclist. If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that they wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet on every ride.
- Back up with caution. Every vehicle has blind spots. Check for children on the sidewalk, driveway, and around your vehicle before slowly backing up. Teach your children to never play in, under, or around vehicles – even those that are parked.
- Come to a complete stop. Research shows that more than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods. Always come to a complete stop, checking carefully for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.
- Talk to your teen. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, and more than one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during the after-school hours of 3 to 7 p.m. Get more information and tips at TeenDriving.AAA.com.
Appreciating our Educators
In addition to our safety messaging, AAA is offering a significantly discounted new Membership for teachers to help minimize the risk of driving to and from school. Any teacher, or anyone in the education sector who takes advantage of this ‘Educators Plus’ new Member offer before Sept. 15 will also receive a $50 gift card.
“We know that our teachers often open their own wallets to purchase school supplies and other classroom needs. This is just a small token of our appreciation for all those who go the extra mile year round,” Lardear says.
According to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), teachers spend almost $400 of their own money on school supplies.
The AAA Educators Plus Membership is redeemable by phone at 844-945-0621 or in any AAA Retail location.