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Highway Patrol shares safety tips as students return to school

As students prepare to return to school, the Missouri and Kansas Highway Patrol remind drivers to be cautious on the roads. “With a back-to-school surge, there’ll be a change in traffic patterns,” Sgt. Michael McClure of the patrol told KY3 television in Springfield.

If a bus is moving on a two-lane road, drivers must stop from both directions when the school bus has its lights on. On a four-lane road, only the drivers behind the bus must stop.

It’s also important to be alert when driving through school zones.

“When those school zones become active or you’re around getting closer to those school zones, just remember that this time of year is when we’re going to have those new, inexperienced young drivers in the mornings and in the afternoons that are going to be sharing the road with us, too,” he said. “So just be cautious and vigilant of this back-to-school activity.”

Patience also is important. “Be patient, show some courtesy and don’t let this sneak up on you,” McClure said.

READ: Measures enacted to boost school safety

In Kansas, the cautions are much the same.

Trooper Tiffany Baylark with the Kansas Highway Patrol told Metro Voice that both kids and adults need to show more caution as school begins. “Some children are aware of the traffic around them but others are oblivious,” she stated. “But so are some drivers.”

Baylark said drivers should particularly pay attention to crosswalks and school zones. “All drivers should make being aware of kids a priority,” she said, adding that particular times for caution are in the morning as drivers head to work. School zones, she states, can vary from 20 to 25 mph depending on the neighborhood.

Tips for students

If kids will be walking or biking to school, make sure they are aware of safety protocols as well. Students should walk on the sidewalk or in crosswalks, and if they must walk on the road, always walk on the left side facing traffic so cars can see them.

“Whether you’re riding on a sidewalk or walking on a sidewalk, being visible on a bicycle, wearing a helmet, those things like that, that we should be practicing over the summer as well,” Trooper McClure said. “But just to be monitoring that traffic flow to and from school. Those kids are going to be getting off the bus, and they’re not completely in tune, they’re in back-to-school mode. So they’re not completely in tune with what’s going on around them. So we have to make sure that we’re ahead of the game and watching for the potential for a kid to dart out in traffic.”

In addition to the beginning of school, Halloween is often the most dangerous time of year for children states Trooper Baylark.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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