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NEWS | May 31, 2017

Schools out, safe driving needed

Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Summer is almost here bringing warmer weather and the end of the school year. Children will be out enjoying the outdoors and their freedom from the restrictions of the classroom.

More than 160 (elementary, middle and high) schools in the metro Charleston area will be closing for the summer. Drivers need to heighten their awareness of the possibility of many more children being in neighborhoods or parks or on the street throughout the day and evening. We all know when children are focused on their “fun activities,” they are not always aware of their environment. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us, as responsible adults and drivers, to ensure the safety of the youngsters as we travel around Charleston during the spring, summer and early fall.

The Automobile Association of America (AAA) Mid-Atlantic encourages commuters to drive cautiously and provides the following tips:

Buckle up. Always wear your seatbelt, even for short trips and restrain children in federally approved child safety seats.

Drive with your lights on. Keep your headlights on (even during the day) so children and other drivers can see you.

Slow down. Allow time to identify unexpected problems and drive defensively.

Look out. Watch between parked cars and for other objects (balls, Frisbees, skateboards, etc.) which may indicate children are at play and could dart into the street.

Use eye contact. Make eye contact with children who are crossing the street. Be aware of their next step and indicate what you would like them to do.

Look for clues. Playgrounds, ball fields and other areas are indicators that children could be in the area.

Look both ways. Look for children, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycles, not just other cars.

Summer should be a joyous and liberating time for all of us. Let’s keep our children are safe and sound throughout the “dog days” of summer.