Safety at, near bus stop responsibility of motorists, parents, children

In this U.S. Army file photo, students disembark from a school bus. (Photo Credit: Karl Weisel, USAG Wiesbaden)

In this U.S. Army file photo, students disembark from a school bus. (Photo Credit: Karl Weisel, USAG Wiesbaden)

ANSBACH, Germany (Sept. 19, 2016) – School is back in session, both for German schools off post and U.S. schools on post, and it is important for children, parents, and motorists to remember safety and security at student drop-off and pick-up locations.

Drivers must maintain vigilance for pedestrians at all times and in all places, but before and after school hours at or near bus stops there are likely to be more child pedestrians. Here is a list of tips for drivers:

  • Obey slower speed limits in school zones and in neigborhoods where there are children present.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
  • Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk; there may be people crossing you cannot see.
  • Be extra cautious when backing up. Pedestrians can move into your path, and child pedestrians will be more difficult to see.
  • Use extra caution when driving in low-visibility conditions such as twilight, nighttime, and inclement weather.

Parents can help ensure their children’s safety by teaching them how to be safe as a pedestrian:

  • Be predictable by following the rules of the road and obeying signs and signals.
  • Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
  • If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic as far from traffic as possible.
  • Put away distracting electronic devices while on the road; keep alert at all times.
  • Cross streets at crosswalks or intersections whenever possible. This is where drivers expect pedestrians.
  • Look in all directions before crossing the street.
  • If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic and traffic has the best view of you. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely and continue to watch for traffic as you cross.
  • Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach you to ensure you are seen.
  • Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective material or use a flashlight at night.
  • Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots.

The above rules on pedestrian safety were adapted from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To learn more, visit www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/everyoneisapedestrian/index.html.

Furthermore, at off-post bus stops, it is always a good to keep the principles of operations security in mind for your children.

Remind your children to be situationally aware of their surroundings on their way to and at the bus stop. From there, the only vehicle they should board is their school bus. If they notice something suspicious, they immediately should report the unusual activity or suspicious persons to the bus safety and security attendant. They can also call the transportation management office at 0981-83-7848 or the vice principal’s offices at 09802-83-2808.

More applicable operations security guidance can be found at http://www.ansbach.army.mil/documents/Policy29WearofUniformOffPost.pdf.

For more on Europe-specific OPSEC and how you can help achieve good operations security for yourself, your children, your Family, and your community, visit https://ansbachhometownherald.com/vigilance-information-feedback-forethought-caution.

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