AAA offers tips to keep students, drivers safe as children head back to school

ORLANDO, Fla. — About 2.8 million students are about to head back to school in Florida. To make sure everyone makes it to class safely, AAA is offering safety tips for students and drivers.

AAA said this time of year is particularly dangerous because of the combination of young inexperienced drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists all sharing the road in the early morning and afternoon hours.


“Drivers can save lives by having a heightened sense of awareness from the moment they leave the driveway,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “You’d expect to see more foot traffic near schools, but neighborhoods and city streets will also be bustling with activity.”

AAA said it’s important to constantly scan the road for people – especially children – and be ready to stop at a moment’s notice. Officials said it’s important to stay alert and avoid distractions like using your cell phone or eating while driving.

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“When driving through a school zone, it’s extremely important that you lower your speed and raise your awareness to ensure you can respond to any potential hazards on the roadway,” Jenkins said. “Remember, in Florida it is illegal to use your handheld mobile device while driving through an active school zone.”

See more tips for students from AAA below:

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For pedestrians

  • Pay attention at all times. Avoid texting or wearing headphones, so you can detect nearby traffic.
  • Use sidewalks where available. If not, walk against the direction of traffic so you can see oncoming vehicles.
  • Make yourself easier to be seen by wearing reflective, bright colored clothing.

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For bicyclists

  • Wear a helmet and neon or bright-colored clothes.
  • Ride in the same direction as traffic and stay as far to the right as possible. Use bike lanes when you can.
  • Do not wear headphones so you can detect approaching traffic.
  • Cross the street at intersections. Do not pull into the roadway from between parked cars.

Read: Back to School: Seminole County Leaders and law enforcement reassure parents safety is top priority

For students at the bus stop

  • Arrive at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
  • Stay five steps away from the curb.
  • Be alert and remove headphones so you can hear oncoming traffic.
  • Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the bus driver signals for you to board.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.