The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

August 18, 2013

New school year, same warnings

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — As Enid Public Schools students return to classes Tuesday, Enid police are warning motorists of possible delays and to urge caution on the roads near schools.

“We will be patrolling school zones across the city of Enid Tuesday,” Enid Police Department Lt. Scott Miller said. “Normally, the first day of school can cause traffic congestion at the schools, especially the elementary schools, where parents are taking their kids in for the first day.”

He said motorists should be aware school zones will be active and more children are expected to be out walking. Not all school zones have flashing lights, and those that do not only have signs.

Miller said if a motorists route to work involves a school zone, they need to plan for extra time to reach their destination.

“We’re asking all drivers going to schools to use caution to avoid traffic accidents and pedestrian accidents, he said. “You need to be aware of the traffic around you.

“Watch for kids running out from between cars,” Miller said. “Watch for them, because they don’t watch for you.”

Motorist should also be aware of streets that are one-way during certain hours and understand traffic fines can increase if infractions occur within school zones.

School zones are active each school day 7-8:30 a.m., 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.

Drivers also need to remember to stop when school buses are loading or unloading. When a bus has its flashing lights on and stop sign extended, traffic must come to a stop in both directions.

Parents dropping off or picking children up need to do so in designated loading and unloading areas.

Those with children who walk to school need to ensure their children use sidewalks and crosswalks and avoid walking in traffic.

Kids taking the bus to school should follow some precautions when entering and exiting the bus.

Children should avoid what National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration calls the “danger zone,” which is an area extending 10 feet from the sides and front of a bus.

NHTSA recommends these tips for children taking the bus to school:

• When getting on the bus, stay away from the danger zone and wait for the driver’s signal. Board the bus one at a time.

• When getting off, look before stepping off the bus to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder. Move away from the bus.

• Before crossing the street, take five “giant steps” out from the front of the bus or until the driver’s face can be seen. Wait for the driver to signal it’s safe to cross.

• Look left to right to left when coming to the edge of the bus to ensure traffic is stopped. Keep watching traffic while crossing.

Parents should watch children to ensure they get to the bus stop on time and wait away from the road.

Parents also should teach children to ask the driver for help if they drop something near the bus, according to the NHTSA. If a child bends down to pick something up, he or she might not be seen by the driver and risks being hit.