Motorists reminded to watch for school children

Motorists reminded to watch for school children As area students return to school, Cheri Cihak, AAA South Dakota, reminds motorists to slow down and watch out for school-age pedestrians.

"Children get caught up in the excitement of 'back-to-school' season and forget to look out for cars," said Cihak.

One-fourth of all children 14 years of age and younger who die in motor vehicle crashes are pedestrians, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The majority of these pedestrian fatalities happen in the afternoon hours when school is letting out.

AAA's School's Open � Drive Carefully campaign encourages motorists to stay alert in areas where children are present, paying special attention during the morning and afternoon hours while children are coming to and from school. Drivers should look out for children who may dart into the street near school zones, playgrounds, bus stops, and in neighborhoods.

As part of the School's Open � Drive Carefully campaign, Cihak offers drivers tips to keep school children safe:

* Slow down in or near school and residential areas.

* Drive with your headlights on � even during the day � so children and other drivers can see you.

* Look for clues such as School Safety Patrollers, crossing guards, bicycles, and playgrounds which indicate children could be in the area.

* Scan between parked cars and other objects for signs that children could dart into the road.

* Practice extra caution in adverse weather conditions.

* Pay particular attention near schools during the morning and afternoon hours.

* Always stop for school buses that are loading and unloading students.

"Drivers should always be aware of their surroundings, but especially around children," said Cihak. "Remember: school's open � drive carefully."

As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides its 44 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since founding in 1902, AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.

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