To the editor:
September is the deadliest month for pedestrians under the age of 18. Forty percent of crashes involving youngsters occur between 3 and 7 p.m., when children make their way home from school and after-school activities.
The Illinois Insurance Association is reminding drivers to practice safe driving habits around schools, school buses and students on foot.
• Never pass a stopped school bus unless you are on the other side of a divided highway.
• Leave at least 10 feet between your car and a school bus stopped ahead of you. Watch for children in the roadway before continuing your trip.
• Follow school zone speed limits.
• Be alert for crossing guards and children who may be distracted or crossing where there is no crosswalk.
• Never block a crosswalk while stopped at a red light or waiting to turn.
• Respect school rules when dropping off or picking up students. Don’t double-park. Drop off children on the same side of the street as the school building.
• Watch for children riding bicycles to and from school. Beware when approaching an intersection, preparing to back up and opening your car door.
• Stay off the phone and avoid other distractions behind the wheel, especially in a school zone.
• Teach your school-age children or grandchildren to cross only at crosswalks, obey crossing guards and remain alert – with headphones off and electronic devices put away – while walking or bicycling in high-traffic areas.
Kevin J. Martin
Executive director of the Illinois Insurance Association