Coral Gables Police Department offers back-to-school safety tips

Monday, Aug. 24, was the first day back to school and with that comes the excitement of a new school year, new friends and lots to learn.

While driving your children to and from school, remember to slow down when entering 15 mph school speed zones. The Coral Gables Police Department will be enforcing all posted speed signs to protect students — to make sure you bring them home safely.

The City of Coral Gables wants you to have a safe and accident-free return to school so remember the following safety tips when traveling to and from school:

• Walk with your children to school: Walking to school promotes health, saves gas, can save time, and reduces traffic congestion around the school.

• Obey all posted speed signs: While driving, slow down when entering 15 mph school speed zones. Pay special attention to the signs showing hours of activation.

• Obey all posted roadway signs: For example: “Do Not Enter” signs are for designated limited access streets around.

• When stopping, standing, or parking your vehicle, use the designated areas only: Do not block driveways, sidewalks or crosswalks.

• Buckle up: Ensure that all occupants of your vehicle, especially children, are always buckled up. Children must be secured in proper child safety seats and/or booster chairs, if applicable.

• Don’t text and drive: Texting while driving is prohibited and is considered a secondary violation. A motorist may be fined for texting if pulled over on another offense. Once stopped, a driver could receive two tickets, one for the first infraction and one for texting. Texting and driving while committing a moving violation within a school zone will result in two points added to the offender’s driver license record, in addition to the points for the moving violation.

• Pedestrian safety tips: STOP at the curb/edge of pavement, and LOOK LEFTRIGHT- LEFT before crossing a street. Always use designated crosswalks and pedestrian signals with a crossing guard, when available. Do not cross in front of a vehicle unless you know for sure the driver clearly sees you and is stopping.

• Bike safety tips: Get ready to ride by putting on a properly fitted helmet and doing a pre-ride ABC Quick check (air, brakes, chain and quick release) of the bike to make sure it is safe to ride. Follow the rules of the road at all times.

• School bus safety tips for children: When walking to a bus stop, use sidewalks, if available. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left facing traffic. Never speak to strangers at the bus stop or get into a stranger’s car. Wait for the bus to arrive, watch for red flashing lights and the stop arm to extend. When riding in a bus always wear your seatbelt and obey the driver.

• School bus safety tips for drivers: Red flashing lights and an extended stop arm signal indicate the bus is stopped and that children are getting on or off. Cars must stop a safe distance away and not proceed until the red lights stop flashing.

• Be safe…be seen: When walking or bike riding, wear bright colors during the day. During dawn, dusk and night times, use lights and/or reflective clothing so you are more visible to drivers. Backpacks should have reflective materials on them.

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