School starts back; motorists, be alert

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Most Wilson County students will be returning to class next week, meaning that motorists need to be even more alert in the early morning hours especially to keep every one safe.

Each year in North Carolina, more than 2,000 pedestrians are injured and 160 are killed in collisions with vehicles. Most of these accidents are preventable.

The Wilson Police Department asks parents to remind their kids of these basic rules of safety before heading back to school:

  • Cross in the crosswalk.
  • Look for cars in all directions—including those turning left or right—before crossing the street; never assume a driver will stop.
  • Be careful crossing multiple lanes of traffic. Make sure each lane of traffic is clear before you cross.
  • Pay attention to where you’re walking and take the focus off your cell phone or other electronic device. A moment of distraction could have disastrous consequences.
  • Be predictable to drivers and follow the rules of the road—obey signs and signals.
  • Cross the street where you have the best view of traffic.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from the road as you can.

Motorists should review these basic tips:

  • Always stop for a stopped school bus.  If the lights are flashing and the stop sign is out, you must stop, including in the following situations:
    • If you are traveling a two-lane road, all traffic from both directions must stop;
    • If you are traveling a two-lane road with a center turn lane, all traffic from both directions must stop;
    • If you are traveling a four-lane road without a median separation, all traffic from both directions must stop;
    • If you are traveling a divided highway of four lanes or more with a median separation, only traffic following the bus must stop; and
    • If you are traveling a road with four or more lanes with a center turn lane, only traffic following the bus must stop.
  • Passing a stopped school bus can cost motorists five points on their driver’s license and eight points for commercial vehicles.
  • Be prepared to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
  • Never pass a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians.
  • Before making a turn, be sure the path is clear of any pedestrians.
  • Slow down in areas where you are likely to find pedestrians, such as near bus stops, schools and playgrounds. There is a $250 penalty for speeding in a school zone in North Carolina.
  • Avoid distractions such as food, passengers and using mobile devices.

Visit N.C. Department of Transportation's Watch for Me NC campaign website to learn more about what you can do to keep our roads safe for everyone.

Visit the DMV website for more information about school bus laws.