Caution urged as school resumes on Monday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 6, 2011

The roadways will be filled with yellow school buses Monday as area students return to the classroom, and motorists are urged to exercise caution and patience when getting the students to school on time.

“I would like to say that we need to pay attention all during the school year, but most particularly the first portion of the school year,” said Mike Bowlan, assistant chief with the Andalusia Police Department. He said for many students – and parents – it will be the first day of school. “Back to school is a busy time. With more distractions and traffic, it pays to slow down and pay attention.”

Bowlan said officers will be directing traffic in the morning and afternoon hours.

“For the parents who are accustomed to this, it should be no problem; however, there will be new parents, so be patient until they can learn the routine,” he said. “For all drivers, make sure you are paying attention to the officer’s hand signals and watch for the other drivers.”

Drivers should also utilize the follow safety tips:

• Double check crosswalks: Fully stop at stop signs and red lights to ensure the area is clear before accelerating.

• Watch for school bus stop signs: When a school bus stops with its red brake lights flashing and/or its stop sign raised, you must stop from either direction until all children have safely crossed the roadway.

• Don’t rush: During the first few weeks of the school year, leave yourself extra time to travel to your destination. And don’t forget about the ongoing road construction on the By-Pass.

• Don’t be distracted: Reduce any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.  Put down your phone and do not text while driving.

Parents should also remind students to exercise caution when getting on and off the school bus.

“Make sure to remind them to never run out into the streets or cross in between parked cars,” he said. “They should walk in front of the bus where the driver can see them, and always cross the street with an adult at crosswalks and traffic signals.”