Safety is Always in Session: Back-to-School Travel Reminders and Tips

August 30, 2022

It's that time of year! Montana's schools are back in session for 2022-2023, which means many children walking, bicycling, or riding a school bus to and from their destination. Safety is always in session, so let's ring in the school year by refreshing our knowledge about traffic safety and teaching our kids the same.

MDT would like to remind everyone to be attentive, share the road, slow down, and obey all traffic laws, as school days bring school buses and increased traffic during school start and end times. Together, we can keep our students safe!

Motorists should:

  • Always avoid distractions while driving.
  • Watch for children walking or bicycling when backing out of driveways and garages, and when exiting alleyways (particularly in the morning and afternoon and as daylight hours decrease).
  • Watch for children in school zones and be aware of nearby school routes.
  • Slow down and watch for children at corners and bus stops.
  • Be aware of school bus laws: yellow flashing lights indicate children are preparing to load or unload and drivers should be prepared to stop. Red flashing lights indicate children are loading or unloading and motorists MUST stop at least 30 feet from the school bus and wait until red lights are no longer flashing.

It is also important for both bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages to:

  • pay attention and listen to their surroundings.
  • avoid cell phone use while walking and biking.
  • make eye contact with drivers before crossing, and
  • cross only at crosswalks and intersections

Remember, children are not small adults. A child's peripheral vision is not fully developed. Children also have difficulty determining direction of sound and judging the speed and distance of moving motor vehicles. By being aware, slowing down, and observing traffic laws, you can do your part as a motorist to ensure Montana's children arrive to their destination safely.

Are you a parent or guardian of a child? There's no better time to teach them about pedestrian and bicycle safety! MDT has a wealth of safety and educational resources available online or by contacting MDT's Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator at 406-444-9273 or MDTBikePedXYZmtABCgov.

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Two young school girls walking in front of car at a cross walk