As students in DC region return to school, slow down on area roads

It’s back to school Monday for students in D.C. and Manassas Park as well as Fairfax and Prince William counties in Virginia. Some Northern Virginia students are already back and others will join Maryland students returning to classes next week.

That means it’s time for drivers to be extra careful.

“The first couple of weeks of school are the most dangerous time on the road for young kids as kids get adjusted to crossing busy streets and adults get accustomed to seeing yellow school buses on the road again,” said John Townsend, manager of Public and Government Relations, AAA mid-Atlantic. “It behooves drivers to slow down and obey the speed limit in school zones.”

Safety is a two-way street, and Townsend said it’s critical that parents teach young children the proper way to cross a street.

“Look left, look right and then look left again,” Townsend said. Kids should be taught never to dart into the street in front of cars.

The National Safety Council also offers back-to-school safety tips for the road:

  • Parents driving kids to school should not drop them off or pick them up across the street from the school. Instead, they should follow the school’s drop-off procedures.
  • When sharing the road with school buses allow a greater following distance than if you were behind a car. It will provide more stopping distance when the bus begins to stop.
  • The area 10 feet around a stopped school bus is most dangerous for kids, so stop far enough back to give them space.
  • When sharing the road with bicyclists, leave at least three feet between your car and the cyclist.

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