With the start of the new school year upon us, we must increase our attention to the roadways. Beginning Sept. 4, mornings and afternoons in Georgetown will find streets busier with both vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
It’s important for drivers to be aware of our student walkers and to be vigilant when traveling the roadways. It’s also important for our student walkers and cyclists to be safe when traveling the roads.
Here are some tips to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of our students this school year:
- Parents should walk their child’s route each year to determine any changes or hazards.
- Walkers should make sure to use crosswalks, standing at the corner of the intersection and looking both ways before crossing. If no crosswalks are provided, always walk facing traffic, watch for turning vehicles and make sure vehicles come to a complete stop before crossing.
- Walkers should never enter a street between parked cars due to limited visibility and walk far enough in front of stopped vehicles, so they are clearly seen. Students should make sure to walk, not run, while crossing the streets.
- As an added precaution, parents could add bright or reflective items to a child’s backpack to help increase visibility.
- Drivers need to take extra time and precautions to ensure the safety of student walkers. Drivers should slow down and make sure to be alert and patient not only in school zones, but at intersections, median and curbs where students may travel to or from school.
- Drivers should be prepared for children to enter the roadways and should leave plenty of space when stopped near crosswalks so other drivers can see any approaching pedestrians.
- Drivers are encouraged to be patient when other vehicles are stopped for pedestrians, and not pass those vehicles.
- In conjunction with state law, drivers should not be talking on cell phones or texting while driving.
- Be alert for an increase in bicyclists. To prevent collisions, drivers should anticipate bicyclists who may not follow the rules of the roadway.
Editor’s note: Det. Joey Melvin is an officer with the Georgetown Police Department and a School Resource Officer for several Indian River School District schools in Georgetown.