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School's back in session: Drivers, slow down in school zones

Drivers should be extra careful in these first few weeks of the new school year by watching their speed and focusing on driving. Drivers should always be careful when driving to work and especially through school zones, but these first few weeks of school kids could be extra distracted and not yet accustomed to safety rules. Drivers need to be ready for the unexpected in order to prevent pedestrian accidents.

School zone speed limits are put in place for a reason and drivers should remember to always follow them. The reason why speeds limits are lower in school zones is because the faster a car is moving, the more likely that a child will be seriously injured or killed if they are hit by a car. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that a child is two-thirds less likely to be killed by a car traveling 25 mph than one traveling 35 mph.

Drivers should try to compensate for the distraction and rushing about of kids by not rushing out of driveways or alleys and limiting distractions while driving. Drivers should expect kids to be on sidewalks. As they make their way down the sidewalk, kids on bikes or skateboards could suddenly appear in front of your car as it heads out of the driveway. It wouldn't be a bad idea to just tap the car horn if you are heading out of a driveway with limited visibility.

AAA recommends that drivers avoid as many distractions as possible while driving. Distracted driving is defined as anything that takes a driver's eyes off the road for two seconds or more. Having your eyes off the road for just two seconds increases the risk of a crash two-fold. Look out for buses and remember not to pass them if their red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended.

Source: NJTODAY.NET, "Drivers Urged To Slow Down As Kids Go Back To School," Aug. 31, 2011

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