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Sheriff: Stay safe this school year

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School has started and one thing Denton County Sheriff’s Office focuses on this month and throughout the school year is safety.

Everyone can help by looking out for kids during the school year. From kindergartners to college seniors, numerous dangers can befall students as they head to school each weekday.

Some of them we can prevent by following safety rules:

Walking to school:
• Look in all directions before crossing the street.
• Do not text and walk. Pay attention to your surroundings
• Walk to school with a group.
• Always walk on the sidewalk if one is available. If no sidewalk is available, walk facing the traffic.
• The safest place to cross is at a street corner or intersection.
• Walk, rather than run, to allow time for drivers to see you before you enter the roadway.

Sharing the road: Pedestrians
Drivers need to recognize the special safety needs of pedestrians, especially children. Young, elderly, disabled and intoxicated pedestrians are the most frequent victims in auto-pedestrian collisions. Generally, pedestrians have the right of way at intersections; however, you as a driver are obligated to exercise extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians.
• Do not block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light.
• Stop in school zones with flashing lights to yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or at an intersection with no marked crosswalk.
• Always stop when directed to do so by a school patrol sign, school patrol officer or designated crossing guard.
• Children are the least predictable pedestrians and the most difficult to see. Take extra care in areas where children and teenagers are present.

Riding a bicycle:
• Wear your helmet when riding your bicycle.
• Know the rules of the road before you try to ride in traffic.
• Ride on the right side of the road or trail in a single file line in the same direction as other vehicles and come to a complete stop before crossing streets.
• Wear bright colors during the day and right before the sun rises or sets.
• Ride with an adult if riding at night. Have a white light on the front of your bicycle and a red reflector on the back.
• Get reflective materials to put on your shoes, helmet and clothing.
• Practice your riding skills.

Sharing the road safely: School Buses
School buses are one of the safest forms of transportation on the road today. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, riding buses is 13 times safer than riding in a passenger vehicle and 10 times safer than walking.
Knowing the proper laws for sharing the road safely with school buses is vital to the safety of children traveling by bus:
• It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus, and traffic in both directions must stop on undivided roadways when a school bus stops to load or unload children
• Yellow flashing lights on school buses mean they are preparing to stop.
• Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm means the bus is stopped.
• Traffic behind the school bus (traveling in the same direction) must stop.
• Be alert. Children are unpredictable. Children walking to or from their bus are comfortable with their surroundings, and more likely to take risks or ignore hazards.
• Never pass a school bus on the right.

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