AAA offers safety driving tips for back to school

AAA is urging drivers to stay alert as students return back to school. Their safety campaign aims to curb unsafe driving in school zones and neighborhoods.
Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 10:20 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - It’s back to school time and with that means more traffic around school areas. AAA is urging drivers to stay alert as students return back to school. Their safety campaign aims to curb unsafe driving in school zones and neighborhoods.

“It’s not just for parents who have kids going back to school, it’s for all drivers that this time of year impacts all of us,” said Brian Ortner, spokesperson of AAA Iowa. “I mean, routines are changing, you’re gonna see traffic flows that are different. And again, just more activity in around schools out school zones, and schools in your neighborhood.”

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 64% of child pedestrians killed in traffic crashes happened between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on the weekdays, which is the timeframe of regular school hours.

“It’s going to disrupt your routine, said Ortner. “You know, and as much as we all want to try to prepare the best we can for going back to school, it still always comes a surprise even though we know the date and we know we have to buy school supplies. So there’s a lot of excitement, a lot of energy and a lot of anxiety around this time of year that can lead to distractions when you’re driving.”

AAA offers seven tips to keep kids safe this school year:

  • Slow down. Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster. A difference between 25 mph and 35 mph can save a life.
  • Eliminate distractions. Children often cross the road unexpectedly and may emerge suddenly between two parked cars. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing.
  • Reverse responsibly. 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.
  • Talk to your teen. Car crashes are one of the leading causes of death for teens in the United States, and more than one-quarter of fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during the after-school hours of 3 to 7 p.m.
  • 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.
  • Watch for bicycles. Children on bicycles are often inexperienced, unsteady, and unpredictable. Slow down and allow at least three feet of passing distance between your vehicle and the bicycle. If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that they wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet on every ride.
  • Look for AAA School Safety Patrollers - Nationwide, more than 679,000 AAA School Safety Patrollers stand guard at over 35,000 schools. When you see one, a school zone is likely nearby.

For more about traffic and pedestrian safety visit Safety - AAA Exchange.