HAMILTON, N.J. – Remember school kids? They’re everywhere. Riding bikes. Getting on and off school buses. Walking. Running. Playing. In fact, more than 1.5 million Garden State school children are retuning to school within the next week.

One simple way to keep them safe is to drive safely.

“Back-to-school is an exciting time for children.  Unfortunately, children are unpredictable and not always mindful of traffic safety.  Children may have difficulty gauging the distance and speed of an approaching car, and may struggle to recognize and react to potentially hazardous situations,” commented Kenneth Chrusz, Traffic Safety Manager, Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education.  “Motorists are reminded to be extra alert, slow down and observe lower speed limits in school zones and residential areas, as children gather at neighborhood bus stops or are walking to and from school.  Parents and caregivers are also reminded to instruct their children in traffic rules and safety.”

AAA’s School’s Open – Drive Carefully campaign encourages drivers to be alert, paying special attention during the morning and afternoon hours while children are going to and heading home from school.  School-age children are vulnerable in areas with heavy traffic volume, street-parked vehicles, higher posted speed limits and few pedestrian-control devices.

To increase safety for school children, drivers should follow these School’s Open – Drive Carefully driving tips:

  • Slow down in or near school and residential areas, paying particular attention during the morning and afternoon hours; come to a complete stop in all intersections. Studies show that more than one-third of motorists in school zones or neighborhoods just “roll through” intersections with a stop sign.
  • Drive with your headlights on – even during the day - so children and other drivers can see you.
  • Look for clues: AAA School Safety Patrol™ members, crossing guards, bicycles, playgrounds.
  • Scan between parked cars for children that might dart into the road.
  • Use extra caution in poor weather conditions.
  • Always stop for school buses that are loading and unloading students.


The Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education also urges parents and caregivers to instruct children in the “A-B-Cs” of traffic safety:

A – Always obey school crossing guards and AAA school safety patrols.

B – Look both ways every time you cross the street.

C – Use crosswalks and corners to cross the roads even when cars are not around.

D – Don’t run or rush, and do remember that drivers can’t always see you.

E – Even and especially when it is raining, snowing, or cold, follow the safety rules.

F – Face it: you are no match for a car. They are faster and bigger, and they can be a danger to kids, so watch out!