AAA reinstates annual School’s Open – Drive Carefully campaign

West Virginia

The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates 43.6 million Americans will be traveling by car between July 1–5. (Getty Images)

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — With schools opening once more, AAA East Central has restarted their School’s Open – Drive Carefully campaign, warning motorists to be extra cautious during the school season.

The campaign focuses on how being more courteous and wary while driving can be a kindness that saves students lives. The difference between 20 mph and 30 mph is a two-thirds increase in the likelihood of a pedestrian fatality in the event of a collision according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

“Everyone needs to keep the lives of young students in mind as they make their way through school zones, especially near crosswalks,” JJ Miller, safety advisor for AAA East Central, said. “School zone speed limits, crossing guards, and markings on buses are in place to save lives, and need to be followed by motorists.”

Steps drivers can take to ensure motor safety include:

  • Plan ahead. Leave early for your destination and build in extra time for congestion. This will cut down on stress from running late.
  • Ditch distractions. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles the chances of crashing. 
  • Stay alert. Don’t rush into and out of driveways. Expect pedestrians on the sidewalk, especially around schools and in neighborhoods. 
  • Brake for buses. It may be tempting to drive around a stopped school bus; not only is it dangerous – it’s against the law.
  • Watch for bikes. Children on bicycles are often unpredictable, so expect the unexpected. Slow down and allow at least four feet of passing distance between your vehicle and bicyclists. 
  • Look for AAA School Safety Patrollers. With more than 600,000 AAA School Safety Patrollers at 31,000 schools across the country, they’re a sure sign that you’re approaching a school zone.

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