AAA Chicago Urges Motorists to Drive Carefully as Schools Open

AURORA, Ill., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ — In its 58th annual School’s Open – Drive Carefully campaign, AAA Chicago reminds motorists to slow down and watch out for children heading back to school.

“Children get caught up in the excitement of ‘back-to-school’ season and forget to look out for cars,” said Beth Mosher, spokesperson for AAA Chicago. “Many kids have trouble making accurate judgments about traffic speed and distance, so drivers have to be particularly aware.”

One-fifth 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. These pedestrian fatalities are more likely to happen in the afternoon hours, when school is letting out.

The AAA School’s Open – Drive Carefully campaign encourages motorists to stay alert in areas where children are present. Drivers should look out for children who may dart out into the street near school zones, playgrounds, bus stops and in neighborhoods. School-age children can be especially vulnerable in areas with heavy traffic volume, parked vehicles on the street, higher posted speed limits, and few pedestrian-control devices.

To help protect children, AAA urges motorists to follow these safety tips:
— Slow down in or near school and residential areas, and come to a
complete stop at all intersections. Recent studies have shown that
more than one-third of motorists in school zones just “roll through”
intersections with a stop sign.
— Drive with headlights on – even during daylight hours.
— Look for clues such as School Safety Patrollers, bicycles, crossing
guards, busses and playgrounds that indicate children could be in the
area.
— Scan between parked cars and other objects for signs that children
could dart into the road.
— Use extra caution in adverse weather conditions.
— Avoid driver distractions such as cell phones, eating and adjusting
vehicle controls while in or near school zones.
— Pay particular attention in school neighborhoods during morning arrival
and afternoon dismissal times.
— Always stop for school buses that are loading or unloading students.

AAA Chicago offers automotive, travel, insurance and financial services. It is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG), the largest affiliation of AAA clubs in the Midwest, with 4.1 million members in eight states. ACG clubs belong to the national AAA federation, a not-for-profit organization, with more than 48 million members in the United States and Canada.

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