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MDOT Supports Back to School Safety Month

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As summer winds down, Mississippians can expect an increase in weekday morning traffic when students begin heading back to school.

The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) encourages students and drivers to participate in Back to School Safety Month by learning proper safety precautions and being extra careful while traveling in school zones and other areas where children are present.

Buses, carpool lines, bicycles and walking students should all be taken into consideration by drivers as children travel to school. According to the National Safe Routes to School program more children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location. However, this can be prevented by drivers staying up-to-date on rules of safety while remaining alert and cautious.

MDOT suggests the following safety tips for drivers:

When Dropping Off:
· Don’t double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles.

· Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school.

· Carpool, if possible, to reduce the number of vehicles at the school.

Sharing the Road Young Pedestrians:
· Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, this often forces pedestrians to walk around the vehicle and enter the path of traffic.

· Stop and yield to pedestrians when flashers are blinking and always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard.

· Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.

Sharing the Road with School Buses:
· Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction – if it is stopped to load or unload children.

· If the yellow or red lights on the bus are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop.

· The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children so stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus.

Sharing the Road with Bicyclists:
· When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist.

· Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this.

· Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars.

· Check side mirrors before opening your door.

Parents can also protect their children by teaching them to be safe as they travel to and from school by looking both ways before crossing the street, standing at least six feet away from the curb at the bus stop and wearing a bicycle helmet when they ride a bike, among other things.

For additional safety tips and to access more information month visit www.GoMDOT.com/safetyeducation.

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