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Take extra care when driving around walking students

Throughout Chicago, Illinois, students from kindergarten to their last year of high school are returning to schools for yet another year, and that changes both foot and traffic patterns. Being aware of those patterns is an important way to avoid motor vehicle accidents.

Children who are between 5 years old and 14 years old suffer higher percentages of pedestrian injuries than any other ages, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Deaths among children who are walking most frequently happen between 7a.m. and 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. These are the times that the children are typically walking from home to school and from school to home respectively. This shows the correlation between school year foot traffic patterns of children and their deaths in motor vehicle accidents.

Of course, this is tragic, and smaller children especially are unlikely to be as careful as they should be, due to their innocent lack of awareness of dangers. For that reason, it is important for drivers to take the responsibility to prevent accidents. Of course, that includes obeying all speed limits and traffic signs.

It also includes being very aware of school zones, and keeping a sharp lookout on all neighborhood streets, and other roads that children may walk across or along the side of. When in doubt, go slow and take care. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Additionally, avoid distracted driving. That includes not texting or reading emails while driving, or holding a phone or for that matter a coffee. You may believe that you can capably drive while doing those things, but they draw your attention and lower your ability to react quickly, which imperils children in the area where you are driving. Consider how much care you would want other drivers to take around your children, and then take just as much care around theirs.

Source: CSAA, "Consumer Tips: Get an A in Back-to-school Traffic Safety," accessed Aug. 24, 2017

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