PLAINFIELD, NJ - A new school year starts, and TAPinto Plainfield is recycling tips from last year to remind residents to slow down, and share the road with students, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
If you drop students off at school, don't double park; it blocks the visibility for other children and vehicles. Don't load or unload children across the street from the school. If you must, walk them across the street. And if you can, carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school.
Share the road with young pedestrians. Don't block a crosswalk if you stop at a red light or are waiting to make a turn, thus forcing pedestrians to go around you. This could put them in the path of moving traffic.
When flashers are on in a school zone, stop to yield to pedestrians crossing in the intersection or crosswalk. Always stop and pay attention to crossing guards holding up stop signs. And take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas.
Don't honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way. Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians, and always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way.
Be sure to share the road with school buses. Never pass one from behind, or from either direction if you're on an undivided road, if it is stopped to pick up or drop off students.
If the lights on a school bus are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop. The area ten feet around a bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus.
Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks.
Share the road with bicyclists. When passing, proceed slowly and leave three feet between your car and the cyclist. If you are turning left and a bicyclist is approaching from the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass. If you're turning right and a bicyclist is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals.
Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this. Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods. Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars, and check side mirrors before opening your car door.
Here's to a healthy and safe school year for all of the students in Plainfield!