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Drivers: Get schooled on safe driving

Parents and kids all across Georgia know full well that summer is ending and school will soon be back in session. For others, however, it may be a bit of a surprise to start seeing school buses back on the roads and kids walking to and from school in the coming weeks. 

It is important for every person to have some awareness of the school sessions because it can and does affect all motorists. During the summer, people may not have to think about school zones, stopping for buses or looking out for small pedestrians nearly as much, but these things are essential once school starts up again.

To begin with, many roads around schools require drivers to slow down and/or stop at every intersection. These rules are set so that drivers don't go tearing through an area where young people are present.

There are also rules set for sharing the road with a school bus. According to Georgia laws, drivers are expected to give buses enough room on the road because they make frequent stops and are very large. Driving too closely behind a bus, cutting a bus off or riding in a blind spot next to the bus can be very dangerous for motorists. Drivers are also expected to stop anytime a bus has its lights flashing and stop sign arm extended, unless the bus is traveling the opposite direction on the road and there is a median separation. Failure to do this could result in a catastrophic accident involving the people getting on or off the bus.

Finally, motorists should be very cautious around crosswalks. People may not be used to seeing young students walking to school during the summer, but during the school year, many kids walk to school. Too often, motorists are in hurry to get to or from work and fail to yield to people in crosswalks or check for pedestrians before turning at an intersection. Unless drivers use appropriate caution in these areas, young people can be hurt or killed in a collision.

We encourage all drivers to brush up on safe driving habits around schools and buses before the school year. Those who do not drive safely could wind up facing serious consequences including a civil lawsuit and legal penalties for negligence. 

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