Motorists should stay alert as school starts

Public schools will reopen this week, so start getting into the habit of watching out for children walking alone or in groups in the mornings and afternoons. They will be out and about starting Thursday, the first day of the new school year in Brunswick and the Golden Isles, waiting for a bus or walking to school.

Drive with both hands on the steering wheel, a foot close to the brake and both eyes wide open. Drive as if some child's life depended on it. Half-asleep, half-alert or excited children have been known to step out in front of cars, so be prepared to stop in a split-second's time.

If possible, find an alternate route, one that bypasses schools. No one has to remind seasoned motorists that children and vehicle traffic are not a healthy mix. Parents and guardians, remind teenagers who are driving to be ultra-cautious too.

It's better to slow down to a snail's pace for a short time than to live a lifetime with the guilt of having taken or ruined a life.

Parents of children should take turns leading walkers to school or waiting for the arrival of the bus in the mornings and afternoons.

This is one way to ensure their safety. When time permits, familiarize yourselves with each other and each other's children. Not every bus stop can be manned by an adult. In these instances, remind children about safety and about talking to strangers.

Motorists should comply with state laws regarding school buses. Do not pass them when the STOP sign is out and children are getting on or off the bus.

Children excited about being home or eager to show an adult something completed in school are vulnerable to impatient drivers. Stop and remain stopped until the bus moves forward and the road is clear.

Stay alert and watch for children.