Remember to watch

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:52

    out for school children As more than 1.5 million students return to school in New Jersey during the next few weeks, AAA Mid-Atlantic reminds motorists to slow down and watch out for school-age pedestrians. "Children get caught up in the excitement of ‘back-to-school' season and forget to look out for cars," said Pam Maiolo, public affairs manager for AAA. "Many youngsters have trouble making accurate judgments about traffic speed and distance, so drivers have to be particularly aware." One fifth of all children 14 years of age and younger who die in motor vehicle crashes are pedestrians, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These pedestrian fatalities are more likely to happen in the afternoon hours, when school is letting out. AAA's School's Open - Drive Carefully campaign encourages motorists to stay alert in areas where children are present, paying special attention during the morning and afternoon hours while children are coming to and from school. Drivers should look out for children who may dart out into the street near school zones, playgrounds, bus stops, and in neighborhoods. School-age children can be especially vulnerable in areas with heavy traffic volume, parked vehicles on the street, higher posted speed limits, and few pedestrian-control devices. The AAA offers the following tips for motorists: • Studies show that more than one-third of motorists in school zones or neighborhoods just "roll through" intersections with a stop sign. Slow down in or near school and residential areas, and be sure to come to a complete stop at all intersections. • Drive with your headlights on - even during the day - so children and other drivers can see you. • Look for clues such as AAA School Safety Patrollers, crossing guards, bicycles, and playgrounds which indicate children could be in the area. • Scan between parked cars and other objects for signs that children could dart into the road. • Practice extra caution in adverse weather conditions. • Always stop for school buses that are loading and unloading students. "Drivers should always be aware of their surroundings, especially around children," said Maiolo.