Flashing lights on road signs and school buses, along with more people in crosswalks, are things drivers should be thinking about again as the new school year quickly approaches.
"This time of year, you're going to have an increase in bus traffic because school's about to start. It's really important that, as you drive, you are aware of your surroundings," said Officer Nathan Probus with the Prince William County Police Department. "If you see that you're approaching a bus, slow down. Take that extra time to maintain that safe distance."
Probus said people should remember to be prepared to stop as soon as yellow lights start flashing on a school bus since children might start for the bus before its red lights start flashing. "It's always better that you play it safe. Never pass a school bus with its red light activated. It is a Class I misdemeanor in the state of Virginia… punishable with up to 12 months in prison and up to a $2,500 fine."
In Virginia, it's the law that cars yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, but Probus said people crossing the road should take precautions, as well. Making eye contact with drivers helps, and pedestrians should look left, right and left again before crossing the road. "Take that extra five seconds to really increase your safety."
Probus said the main thing pedestrians and motorists alike should do is slow down a bit and be aware of their surroundings.
Find out more about pedestrian safety and school zone information in the FAQ section of the Prince William County Police Department's web site at www.pwcgov.org/police.