Southwest District -- Classes are beginning in schools all across the Ozarks in mid-August, and drivers are urged to be ready for increased student and parent traffic, the Missouri Department of Transportation said.
Many schools are located on or near state roads.
While MoDOT builds and maintains roads and bridges on the state highway system, the department also works with the Missouri Coalition For Roadway Safety to promote driving and pedestrian safety.
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.
* 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.
* 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.
* In bad weather, with wet or slick pavement, expect cars to take a longer distance to stop.
* At night, make yourself visible. Wear light colors and reflective strips and use a flashlight.
For more information on pedestrian and bus safety, go to www.savemolives.com/ .
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