As our kids head back to school, we at Horizon Family Medical Group want to remind you to drive safely. Here are a few tips to ensure our kids are safe getting to and from school.
- Don’t pass school buses that are stopped picking up or dropping off kids. You might be in a hurry, but it’s not worth breaking the law, and it’s not worth the risk of injuring a child. In fact, did you know that 23 million students take the bus each day? Sadly, an “average of 24 school-aged children die in school transportation-related crashes each year.” 
- Slow down in school zones. According to the National Safety Council, more children are hit by cars near schools than any other location.  School zone speed limits usually vary between 15 and 25 miles per hour. Stay within posted limits, and use good judgment. It’s okay to go even slower if conditions warrant it.
- Follow your school’s pick-up and drop-off procedures. If you don’t know your school’s procedures, contact the office. If your school doesn’t have a procedure, work with the PTA to establish one.
- Avoid double-parking, or unloading your kids across the street from the school—when possible. Double-parking makes it difficult for other drivers to see kids, and for kids to see oncoming cars. Unloading across the street from the school means your child has to cross a busy road. Take a little extra time and just avoid the risk.
- Put your phone away. Don’t check or send texts. Don’t Instagram. Don’t check email. Just put the phone away, and don’t let the distraction cause death or injury.
- Teach your child to look both ways before crossing the street. It’s simple, and we’ve heard this a hundred times, but it makes a huge difference. When kids see a friend across the street, they sometimes forget to vigilantly check for traffic.
- Teach your kids to make eye contact with drivers at a crosswalk to ensure the driver sees them and they see the driver.
- Teach your child to cross the street in designated crosswalks.
- Review drop-off and pick-up procedures to ensure your kids are staying safe.
Be safe out there. From all of us at Horizon Family Medical Group, let’s make sure our kids stay safe.
Saferoutesinfo.org has a great tip-sheet for “Improving School Drop-off and Pick-up Zones.” 
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – http://www.nhtsa.gov/links/ParentsCentral/SchoolBuses.htm
- National Safety Council – http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/back-to-school-safety-tips-for-drivers.aspx
- Safe Drop-off / Pick-up – http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/sites/default/files/resources/ImprovingSchoolDropOffandPickUp.pdf