Editorial: Be aware of school zone traffic

You might want to sip your coffee, milk or juice a little quicker this morning, and surely not tarry over your cereal, bagel,

oatmeal, pastry, eggs or hotcakes.

Calcasieu Parish schools open today, meaning traffic in school zones will be fiercer than the last 10 weeks.

Patience is not only a virtue here, it is a necessity. And it can be a teachable moment for parents, whose reaction to the

stress of more traffic can be an example for young, impressionable minds.

Motorists dropping off students can avert some of the problems if they give their passengers instructions or last-minute tips

before they pull into the school’s unloading area.

Certain schools’ zones have chronic loading and unloading issues. Instead of griping about it, be proactive and leave your

home 15 minutes earlier.

Be mindful, also, that most school zones have a reduced speed limit 7-9 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. Inattention to such details will

likely earn you a speeding ticket.

Remember that it is against the law to pass a school bus that has its stop signs and red lights activated. Doing so may also

earn you a ticket. Worse, it could result in a tragic accident.

State police have issued the following tips for students walking or biking to school:

Do not cross the street alone if you are younger than 10 years old.

Always stop at the curb before crossing the street.

Walk — do not run — across the street.

Look left, right and left again before crossing.

Walk facing traffic.

Make sure drivers see you before crossing the street in front of them.

Cross at least 10 feet in front of a school bus.

At railroad crossings, stop and look both ways. If on a bike, walk it across the crossing.

When riding a bicycle always wear a proper-fitting bicycle helmet.

These rules are paramount today, but also apply for the next nine-and-a-half months.

So as unpleasant a notion, set your alarm clock 20 minutes early. Just a few extra minutes of cushion and an undivided focus

on the roadway can avert a tragedy.

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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.