LOGAN, W.Va. — With the coming of the month of August, children are heading back to school. In fact, the first day of school for students in Logan County is Thursday, August 18, 2016. With this increased traffic, motorists need to be more focused. Logan County Schools would like to share some defensive driving tips to make Back To School driving a little safer.
— Expect the unexpected, especially in school zones, playgrounds, and around buses. Children don’t always stop to think before darting out into traffic.
— Stop properly at stop signs and crosswalks. Here in the State of West Virginia it is illegal to pass through either a stationary stop signs or one held by a crossing guard or other safety representative. Drivers must come to a complete stop at a stop sign before the crosswalk area. Blocking a crosswalk puts children, other pedestrians, and bike riders in danger.
— Obey the posted speed limits. The faster your vehicle travels the longer it takes to come to a complete stop. Most school zones have speed limits of 20 MPH or less.
— Put away all electronic devices. It is illegal to use your cell phone while operating a vehicle, unless it is a hands free device, in the State of West Virginia. However, new studies have shown that even with hands free devices, drivers are still distracted by these devices. Many experts advise that if you know you will be traveling through school zones, place your electronic devices in a place where you are not going to be distracted by them.
— Make eye contact with pedestrians. Kate Carr of Safe Kids Worldwide advises that if you haven’t made eye contact with a pedestrian at a crosswalk, “assume that they haven’t seen you and that they are just going to keep on going.”
— Stop near school buses. It is illegal in the State of West Virginia to pass a bus on roadways while the bus is stopped to load and unload children. The same rule applies to vehicles traveling in the opposite direction as the bus, with the exception of interstates and corridors.
— Pay attention to bus warning lights. Yellow flashing lights means the bus is preparing to stop. Red flashing lights means that children are getting on or off the bus.
— Give buses space to load and unload children. The most dangerous zone for children getting injured is within a 10 feet radius of the bus or other vehicle they have exited.
— Give yourself more time or choose an alternative route. With the increased traffic, your normal commute will take longer. Leave earlier so that you will not be frustrated. Allowing for more time will provide for safer travel for not only you but others as well.