School's Open – Drive Carefully!

Fact: The greatest threat children face today is motor vehicle crashes. While walking, cycling or as a passenger in a motor vehicle, these crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 and older. The problem escalates during the months kids are in school.

When schools are in session, loads of children walk our neighborhood streets and, sometimes, not so cautiously. As motorists we need to be responsible for watching out for pedestrians.

Kids are vulnerable for several reasons.

  • They are small and less visible to motorists.
  • It is more difficult for children to judge traffic situations, because their peripheral vision is one-third narrower than an adult's.
  • Children do not always possess the capability to make sound judgments.
  • Children can be easily distracted, especially when around other kids.

In short, kids are not adults - and it's up to drivers to compensate for these differences.

Since AAA began School's Open - Drive Carefully! in 1946, the program has successfully contributed to lowering school-related pedestrian fatalities.

To help protect children, AAA urges motorists to follow these safety tips:

  • Slow down near schools and in residential areas.
  • 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, bicycles and playgrounds that indicate children could be in the area.
  • Scan between parked cars and other objects for signs of children.
  • Practice extra caution in bad weather.
  • Always stop for school buses that are loading or unloading students.

Tips for Kids:

  • Keep away from parked cars - drivers can't see you.
  • Cross at corners, never in the middle of the block.
  • Stop, and look in all directions before crossing.
  • Listen to traffic helpers - patrollers and crossing guards are there to help you.
  • If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic, in single file, as far away from the road as possible.
  • Be extra careful in bad weather - drivers may not see you.
  • Wear white or light-colored clothing after dark.