August is back-to-school time in Lakewood, remember to drive safely

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Drivers and students need to take care as Lakewood’s school districts open their doors again for the new school year in mid to late August. Helping get the community’s 15,000 students back to school safely each fall is a big job that the City of Lakewood has assisted with since the 1950s.

Lakewood’s back-to-school effort has four elements: the city’s “Suggested Route to School” maps, classroom instruction, Sheriff’s traffic enforcement and safety reminders for the public. Maps located at lakewoodcity.org/backtoschool show the location of traffic signals, stop signs and crossing guards. Lakewood is fortunate to have experienced crossing guards, some of whom have worked for the city for over 20 years.

Parents should spend time going over the route with their children, pointing out the crosswalks and intersections they’ll encounter on the way to school. Even better, parents should walk the route with their children.

Safety tips for children:

• Always stop, look all four ways and listen before crossing the street.

• Cross the street only at corners and crosswalks, not between parked cars.

• Walk or ride with a group of people; there is safety in numbers.

• When walking on sidewalks, look out for cars pulling out of driveways.

• Always wait for a crossing guArd to control traffic before starting to cross the street.

Safety tips for drivers:

• Reduce vehicle speed to 25 mph or slower when driving in school zone.

• Double parking for a quick drop-off is very hazardous for small children, who are invisible behind an SUV or van until they dart in front of oncoming traffic.

• Do not let your children exit a car on the traffic side of your vehicle. Be aware, drivers can be cited for unsafely loading or unloading children near schools.

• The only safe way to drop off your youngsters is to pull up to the curb in front of the school or at a safe location where youngsters can walk to the end of the block and cross to school through an intersection controlled by a stop sign, signal or crossing guard.