Commentary: Back-to-school tips to keep everyone safe

With the start of the school year quickly approaching, we must increase our attention on the roadways.

Mornings and afternoons in Georgetown and across Delaware will find streets busier with both vehicle and pedestrian traffic. It’s important for drivers to be aware of our student walkers and to be vigilant when traveling the roadways. It’s equally as important that our student walkers and cyclists use safe practices when commuting to and from school.

Here are some tips to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of our students this school year.

• Parents should walk their child’s route each year to become familiar and identify any changes or hazards that may be present.

• Walkers should make sure to use crosswalks, standing at the corner of the intersection and looking both ways before crossing. If no crosswalks are provided, always walk facing traffic, watch for turning vehicles and make sure vehicles come to a complete stop before crossing.

• Walkers should never enter a street between parked cars due to limited visibility and walk far enough in front of stopped vehicles, so they are clearly seen. Students should make sure to walk, not run, while crossing the streets.

• As an added precaution, parents could add bright or reflective items to a child’s backpack to help increase visibility.

• Drivers should take extra time and precautions to ensure the safety of student walkers. Drivers should slow down and make sure to be alert and patient not only in school zones, but at intersections, median and curbs where students may travel to or from school.

Detective Joey Melvin

• Drivers should be prepared for children to enter the roadways and leave plenty of space when stopped near crosswalks so other drivers can see any approaching pedestrians.

• Drivers are encouraged to be patient when other vehicles are stopped for pedestrians, and not pass those vehicles.

• In conjunction with state law, drivers should not be talking on cell phones or texting while driving.

• Be alert for an increase in bicyclists. To prevent collisions, drivers should anticipate bicyclists who may not follow the rules of the roadway.

Detective Joey Melvin is a school resource officer and public information officer with the Georgetown Police Department. He can be reached by contacting the Georgetown Police Department or email at joseph.melvin@cj.state.de.us.

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