By Beth Kilchenman
American Red Cross
As summer vacations come to an end, students across the county are heading back to school. Before your family settles back into its school-year routine, take a minute to review the following tips and get prepared for the year ahead.
Whether they walk, ride the bus or travel by car, teach your kids these few tips to ensure they get to and from school safely.
Tips for school bus riders
o Line up facing the bus, not along side it.
o Do not play in the street while waiting for the bus.
o Never reach under the school bus to get anything that has rolled or fallen beneath it. The bus driver may be sitting too high up to see you.
o Wait for a signal from the bus driver before crossing the street. Walk at least 10 steps away from the front of the bus so the driver can see you.
o Never cross the street or play behind the school bus.
Tips for college-bound students
Students heading off to college â€” perhaps for the first time this year â€” may be inexperienced at driving long distances or driving alone. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The risk of crashes is higher among 16- to 20-year-olds than among any other age group, and young adults also are less likely to be buckled up than any other age group.
When preparing college-aged children for a long drive to school, make sure they take these precautions:
o Before packing the car, perform a simple safety check. Turn on the lights and walk around the vehicle to ensure that all lights are in working order. Also check turn signals and look for any fluid leaks or things hanging from the vehicle. Make sure the tires are properly inflated.
o Prepare an emergency supplies kit for your vehicle and keep it in your car at all times. Include a first aid kit and manual as well as items such as a blanket, flares, a flashlight and batteries, jumper cables that can be helpful and may even be lifesaving in the event of an emergency.
o No matter how far you are traveling, be sure you are well rested before you hit the road.
o Leave early and give yourself enough time to travel at a comfortable pace. Remember, speeding does not increase your ability to arrive on time; it only increases your chances of not arriving at all.
o Do not talk on your cell phone while driving. Phones are distracting and impair your ability to concentrate on the road. If you must use the phone, pull over to a safe, well-lit parking lot and place your call there or at least use a hands-free earpiece.
o Should you find yourself getting tired from the drive, pull over to a rest stop or gas station to walk around and refresh yourself.
o Remember to always wear your safety belt and require any passenger who rides with you to do the same.
Kilchenman may be reached at 330-723-4565.