JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. | Drivers are urged to be extra vigilant as students begin returning to class with school districts starting at different times along with the possible modification of school schedules due to COVID-19 precautions.
Motorists are urged to slow down and pay attention as more children will be on or near roadways, walking and bicycling to school or waiting for the bus — most for the first time in several months. With many students returning to Missouri's colleges and universities, motorists could experience increased traffic on major highways over the next two weeks.
Here are some safe driving reminders for drivers: The four words “Buckle Up Phone Down” are never more important than during the school year. Looking away from the roadway to send a text message doubles the chance of being involved in a crash. The Missouri Department of Transportation reminds motorists to avoid cellphone use or any other activity that might take attention away from the roadway, and to set a good example for your young passengers by making sure everyone in the vehicle is buckled in.
Motorists should expect the unexpected, like watching out for children walking or bicycling to school when backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage. Remember, children in groups or who are arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.
It is a state law that vehicles in both lanes must stop when a school bus has its red warning lights flashing and the stop sign is extended.
MoDOT reminds motorists to slow down, and watch for school zones where speed limits are reduced.
Parents and caregivers are urged to talk to children about bus stop and traffic safety rules. Here are a few tips: Always stay in sight of the bus driver. Make eye contact when possible. Assume drivers cannot see you and never walk behind a school bus.
Don't hurry off the bus. Make sure to check traffic first.
Use sidewalks where available. If you must walk in the street, walk single file facing traffic.
Be alert and avoid using cellphones, ear buds and handheld games which can cause a distraction.
When crossing a street — in a crosswalk or at a corner — look left, then right, then left again. Wait until all cars are stopped or the road is clear before stepping out — that means all cars in all lanes in all directions.
More information on school bus and pedestrian safety can be found at www.savemolives.com.