Watch for students on foot or on buses

As most area students head back to school this week, we remind motorists to watch for school buses — and more pedestrians and traffic — while driving.

You probably know not to pass a school bus when its red lights are flashing. And flashing yellow lights indicate the bus is slowing and about to stop — be extra cautious and alert for students eager to enter the roadway to get on the bus.

That means slowing down. A driver going 20 mph takes about half the distance to stop a vehicle than one going 30 mph. That’s a key difference.

According to AAA, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling 25 mph is about two-thirds less likely to be killed than a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 35 mph. A difference of 10 mph can save a life.

Oh, and use extra caution when driving through Tiffin’s campuses, too. College students sometimes focus more on their previous lecture than checking for traffic before crossing the street.

This advice comes as pedestrian fatalities are on the rise in Ohio. In 2015, 140 people where killed while walking on Ohio roads in 2016, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation; that’s about 26 percent higher than the five-year average.

AAA offers other tips.

• Eliminate distractions: Children on foot or bicycle can cross the road unexpectedly or suddenly emerge between parked cars. Research shows that looking away from the road for two seconds doubles the risk of crashing.

• Come to a complete stop: Studies show more than a third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods.

• Plan ahead: Traffic is heavier once school is back in session. Drivers should give themselves extra time by leaving early or modifying their routes to avoid school zones and traffic.