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Be safe when walking to school and driving near schools

The American Automobile Association has spoken out during the start of the new school year asking for drivers and children to be safe on the roads. With millions of kids heading back to class, drivers need to be more vigilant than ever to prevent accidents.

Pedestrian foot traffic will be increased over the next few months due to schools being back in session, especially during the hours before and after school. The afternoon can be particularly dangerous for kids leaving school, partially due to rush hour, and it's been shown that a third of all child pedestrian fatalities take place between 3 and 7 p.m.

Children may also be biking to school and traffic congestion may increase with the addition of school buses each day. Drivers should be aware of the possibility of children running into the road or falling off their bikes to prevent injuries.

There are a few ways you can help keep yourself and others safe on the roads during this increased traffic period. Slow down, first. School and neighborhood areas typically have speed limits between 20 and 25 mph, and they are slow for a reason. If a pedestrian is hit at these slower speeds, they are two-thirds less likely to be killed than if they're hit by a vehicle traveling only 10 mph faster.

Avoid being distracted. It's easy to take your eyes off the road just for a second, but that's all it takes for a child to run out into the road. Be aware, and you'll lower the risk of being in an accident.

Source: NJ.com, "AAA advises: Be safe heading back to school," Sep. 03, 2015

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