With many kids heading back to school this week, police want you to slow down and pay attention especially around school zones.
AAA says around the country 13 percent of students typically walk or bike to school. With that in mind they say drivers need to be aware that more kids will be out on the street. AAA says most child pedestrian fatalities happen when school gets out and kids are heading home. They say those fatal accidents happen mostly between 3:00p.m. and 7:00p.m.
Public Information Officer Sam Clemens with the Sioux Falls Police Department says, "People need to remember school is back in session and not only will kids be out in the morning but after school as well. Younger kids especially might not be paying attention so if you are in a school zone you need to slow down to 15mph."
AAA says there are several things drivers can do to be more cautious out on the road. First of all they say you need to slow down especially in school zones. AAA says a pedestrian hit by a car traveling at 15 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian hit by a car traveling just 10 mph faster.
Experts say especially if a child is running late they may run out into the road without looking. That's why AAA says you need to eliminate distractions and really focus on the road. Again they say kids can run out between two parked cars unexpectedly and if you are looking at your phone for example or playing with the radio you may not see them in time.
AAA also warns to watch your blind spots. They say kids can end up behind your car when you are backing up. They say to be extra careful when backing up and also they say you should teach your kids never to play around cars, not even parked cars. AAA also says to make sure you come to a complete stop. They say at stop signs especially in school zones you should come to a stop and spend time looking around before moving on.
Finally AAA says you should watch for kids on bikes because they can be unsteady and unpredictable. AAA says to slow down and allow at least 3 feet of passing distance between your car and the bike.