AAA Michigan Tips for Back to School Safety

Aug 31, 2012, 12:03 ET from AAA Michigan

DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As children across the state return to school, AAA Michigan offers these suggestions to help keep students safer:

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Slow down.  Speed limits in school zones are reduced for a reason.  Watch for AAA Safety Patrollers at intersections.

Eliminate distractions – including no texting while driving.  Children often cross the road unexpectedly and may emerge suddenly between parked cars. Taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing.

Reverse responsibly.  Every vehicle has blind spots. Check for children on the sidewalk, driveway and around your vehicle before slowly backing up. Teach your children to never play in, under or around vehicles.

Talk to your teen. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. More than one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occurs during the after-school hours of 3 to 7 p.m.

Come to a complete stop. Research shows that more than one third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods. Come to a complete stop, checking for children on sidewalks and in crosswalks before proceeding.

Watch for bicycles. Children on bikes are often inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable. Slow down. If your child rides a bicycle to school, require that they wear a properly-fitted bicycle helmet.

Plan ahead.  Read maps and check traffic conditions before getting on the road.

Secure children in safety seats before driving.  Make sure children are safely buckled in appropriate child safety seats.

Keep your vehicle in good shape.  Check to make sure your tires are properly inflated with good tread.  Clean your car battery terminals and fill the radiator with proper antifreeze mixture.  Follow your manufacturer's recommendations for oil changes and regular maintenance.