Back-to-school safety tips for students and drivers

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 10:19 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Summer 2022 is coming to a close, which means it’s back to school season, and if you have not already, you’ll be seeing school buses back on the roads soon.

With that comes safety reminders for both kids and families, as well as drivers who have to remember to share the road and slow down.

AAA shared tips for kids that will be riding the bus to school.

“Leaving five minutes early to get to that bus stop on time. Take several giant steps back away from the street to stand at the bus stop,” Morgan Dean with AAA Mid-Atlantic said. “Keeping them off the street is such an important thing.”

Dean suggests teaching children the danger zones of the bus: right in front and right behind the bus. This is often a blind spot for other drivers or the bus driver. Students should make themselves as visible as possible, avoid horseplay, and put down distractions.

“If a kid is walking with a cell phone, they’re not looking at what’s in front of them. They’re not seeing cars on the roadway,” Dean said.

The same goes for drivers, but there are often more distractions than just a cell phone. That includes eating or drinking, children, pets, and other electronics, like a GPS or radio.

“Taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your risk of a crash,” Dean said.

If a child plans to walk or ride a bicycle to school, AAA suggests making sure kids are aware of all the rules of the road. Walk on the correct side of the roadway, look both ways at all intersections, and if they are riding a bicycle, make sure they are wearing a helmet.

As more cars and buses will be on the road because of school, drivers are finally seeing relief at the pump. Virginia’s average is $3.76, down 9 cents from last week and 60 cents from last month, but up 79 cents from a year ago.

“We’ve seen lower crude oil prices and we’ve also seen lower demand at the pumps,” Dean said.

While gas demand goes up in the summer, Dean said far fewer people are traveling for Labor Day weekend than Memorial Day and Independence Day, so we may not see prices spike per gallon too much.

As of August 15, Virginia is ranked 20th on the list of least expensive states in the U.S. for gas.

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