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School is out, safe driving needed

By JB Charleston Public Affairs | JB Charleston Public Affairs | May 31, 2016

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. — Spring is here in Charleston bringing blooming flowers, warming weather and the end of the school year. Which means, children will be out and about enjoying the outdoors and their freedom from the constraints of the classroom.

With more than 180 (elementary, middle and high) schools in the metro Charleston area 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 as cognizant 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 and summer.

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.) that 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, ballfields and other areas are indicators that children could be in the area.

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

Summer should be a joyous and exhilarating time for all of us. Let's keep it that way by making sure all our children are safe, sound and ready for school in the fall.