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Driver Safety Tips as School Starts Again

AAA reminds drivers not to drive distracted, especially as the school year starts up and more children are out. (cburypix/Flickr)
AAA reminds drivers not to drive distracted, especially as the school year starts up and more children are out. (cburypix/Flickr)
September 5, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – All across the United States at this time of year, 55 million children head back to school, walking and biking to class.

AAA Oregon reminds drivers that speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason.

Marie Dodds, government affairs director at AAA Oregon, says it's very important to slow down in school zones, and not just to avoid the hefty speeding ticket.

"If a tragedy happens and a car hits a pedestrian or a bicyclist, you're much more likely to survive that crash if the motorist is traveling at 20 miles an hour or less," she points out.

Dodds reminds people to make a full stop at stop signs and watch out for children who don't cross the street at the crosswalk.

She says this also is a good time for a refresher on what the different school bus lights mean. Flashing yellow lights mean the bus is preparing to stop and flashing red means children are getting off and could be crossing the street.

According to Dodds, 3 to 7 p.m. is the most dangerous time during school days, especially as the days get shorter. It's also important to eliminate distractions.

Dodds says surprising research from AAA found people can experience a "technology hangover" that lasts as long as 27 seconds after engaging with a device, even if it's hands free.

"Let's say that you're stopped at a red light,” she explains. “You quickly send a hands free text to somebody, maybe you say, 'Hey, I'm on my way home. Do we need something at the store?' You send that text through your hands free system. It can take your mind a full 27 seconds after that to fully focus on driving."

Dodds says parents also should take time to review the rules with their teen drivers. She says teens need to have real world experience driving in order to be prepared for the road.

"Instead of just having your kid drive to and from school, or to and from the grocery store, or to and from a friend's house, take them out on country back roads, take them out in inclement weather,” she urges. “Make sure that they have experience in a wide variety of driving scenarios."

AAA offers more tips regarding teen drivers at teendriving.aaa.com.



Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR