Back to School Safety Tips with TDSS

When you hear the word autumn, you probably think sweater weather, pumpkin spice lattes, and school supplies. Autumn is a time to slow down, and begin recuperating from summer travels and activities. Parents are eager to send their students back to school to get that long awaited break, and many teenagers are excited to be driving themselves to school, perhaps for the first time. Sadly, an estimated 152,000 school-age children are injured in school transportation related incidents each year. School transportation related incidents include vehicles, pedestrians, and buses. Statistics show that between the years of 2011 and 2020, there were more than 1,000 fatal school-transportation-related incidents, and an estimated 55% of school-aged children deaths in the U.S. occur when a teenager is driving. Whether your children walk, ride their bicycle, take the school bus, or ride in a vehicle to school, it is extremely important that we talk to our children about the proper safety precautions. Here are some tips to keep your child safe on their way to school: 


  • Walk on the sidewalk, if one is available. If one is not available, walk on the shoulder of the road facing traffic. 
  • Always cross the street at a crosswalk or intersection, if one is available. Make sure to stop, look left, right, and left again to check for oncoming cars before crossing whether at a crosswalk or not. 
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. 
  • Stay alert and avoid distracted walking. 
    • Never walk while texting or talking on the phone. 
    • Do not walk with headphones in your ears. 
    • Be aware of your surroundings. 

Bike Riders

  • Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, and in a single file. 
  • Come to a complete stop before crossing the street; and walk bikes across the street when crossing. 
  • Stay alert and avoid distracted riding
    • Never ride while texting or talking on the phone. 
    • Do not ride with headphones in your ears. 
    • Beware of your surroundings. 
    • Make sure your child always wears a PROPERLY fitted helmet and bright clothing. 

Bus Riders

  • Go to the bus stop with your child on the first day to teach them the proper way to get on and off the bus. 
  • Teach your children to stand 6 feet (or three giant steps) away from the curb and street. 
  • If your child must cross the street in front of the bus to get on, teach them to wait until the bus has come to a complete stop and the bus driver has made eye contact and waved for them to cross. Also, teach them to cross only in front of the bus and 10 feet in front. Your child and the bus driver should ALWAYS be able to see each other. 

Vehicle Riders and Drivers

  • Obey school zone speed limits and follow your school’s drop-off procedure. 
  • Make eye contact with walkers crossing the street. 
  • NEVER pass a bus loading or unloading children. 
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children, so obey the yellow and red blinking lights of a school bus. 
  • Make sure children are seated and buckled correctly. 
  • Stay alert and avoid distracted driving. 
    • No loud music
    • No texting
    • No talking on the phone


It is important that before the first day of school, you take time to review, teach, and practice the way your child will be walking, riding, or driving to school. 


Labor Day Weekend!

We all look forward to that first weekend in September when we celebrate Labor Day. Many of us have one last summer trip or a barbeque with family and friends planned to relax and officially close out summer. According to the American Automobile Association, more than 34 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles over the weekend. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates around 456 people may die on U.S. roads this Labor Day Weekend. While this is a slight decrease from Labor Day Weekend 2021, there are steps and precautions we can take and share with our teen drivers to see even less traffic incidents this Labor Day and as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer for Teen Drivers comes to an end. Here are some tips for you to read, follow, and share for a safe travel weekend for all: 

  • NEVER drink and drive
    • Around 38% of driving fatalities on this weekend involve an alcohol-impaired driver.
  • Put your cell phone on silent or give it to a passenger for safe-keeping before leaving for your trip. 
    • This will help stop the temptation to text or check instagram. 
  • Leave early to avoid traffic, and allow plenty of time for travel. 
    • Be aware that with more people on the road, it will take longer to arrive at your destination. Plan for that extra time. 
  • Be sure your car has a full tank of gas before leaving. 
  • Make sure all car fluids are topped off. 
    • Windshield Wiper Fluid
    • Oil
    • Coolant
    • Brake Fluid
    • Power Steering Fluid
  • Make sure your oil is up-to-date, if not, get an oil change before leaving.  
  • Have your brakes serviced
  • Make sure all tires are adequately inflated, and that your spare tire is properly inflated and in good condition.
  • Plan your route using GPS or another tool before driving. 
  • Be mindful of tractor-trailer/semi trucks. They need more time and distance to stop, so DO NOT cut them off. Give them space and beware of their blind spots. 
  • Pack an emergency kit with flares, first-aid supplies, flashlight, snacks, and a cell phone charger. 
  • Have your insurance and roadside service plan assistance numbers ready if needed. 
  • If you have an emergency, exit the freeway or pull as far off onto the shoulder as possible. Set up flares to alert drivers you are on the side of the road. 
  • Use turning signals when turning and switching lanes. 
  • Make sure the driver and all passengers are sitting correctly and WEARING seatbelts. 
  • Don’t drive if you are tired. 
  • Let someone know when you are leaving, and let someone know when you have made it to your destination and home safely. 
  • Set a goal before driving: Get ourselves and our passengers to our destination and home safely. 

As we officially close out summer, and move into pumpkin spice latte season, let us all review these driving tips with our teens, so we can all have a safe, relaxing, and fun Labor Day weekend!