Keep childrens’ safety in mind as school starts

It’s that time of the year again. The madness of getting our children back to class has already started in most area school districts.

That means early morning and mid-afternoon traffic will be heavier and school zone restrictions go into effect.

Higher traffic and slower speeds will affect all drivers, not just those who are trying to get their children to school before the alarm sounds or picking them up at the end of the day. Everyone on the street will have to be alert for the actions of more drivers (many of them distracted with last-minute checks and admonitions for their children as they approach the campus), sudden stops of lumbering school buses, and children, with or without their parents, walking along the side of the road or crossing the street on their way to school or the bus stop.

It’s a major change all across eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle, where a significant part of our population is of school age.

The first day of school tends to be hectic, especially for those who are going to a new school and don’t know what to expect; they or their parents might not know the designated drop-off or pick-up routes around campus, and could make sudden turns as they correct their approaches.

So all drivers — not just those with children in school — should add more time to their travel schedules, and leave for work, the store or doctor’s appointment a bit earlier. Good planning can reduce stress, which in turn can reduce the chances of making a bad decision that could prove tragic.

The most important consideration as we get into the school term — and every day, for that matter — is safety. So let’s all get some rest, leave the house earlier, and remember to be extra alert and respect school bus lights and other restrictions that take effect when the school year starts.

After all, a little planning can reduce the inconvenience, and increase the odds that everyone gets to and from their destination safely.