With schools across Northern Oklahoma being back in session, that means students will be walking on sidewalks and crosswalks going to and from classes. The Ponca City Public Schools and Ponca City Police Department want to remind motorists to slow down in school zones and watch for children crossing the street. Police officers not just in Ponca City, but in other communities will be concentrating their efforts in the school zones and cross walks near the schools.

The Ponca City Police Department was recently awarded a grant through the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office targeted at reducing aggressive driving in and around local school zones. According to the Ponca City School Public Information Coordinator Mary Ladd, school zones are in place to save lives. Ladd also says that research shows taking your eyes off the road for two seconds can double your chance of a crash.

SAFETY TIPS:

Students should always walk on a sidewalk when one is present. Students also need to look both ways before crossing the street, and be on the look out for turning cars. If a student crosses at a “walk” sign and it changes to “don’t walk” as they’re crossing, they should look at the drivers and immediately get to the other side of the street. Students should obey police officers, school crossing guards. Students should only cross the streets at crosswalks, because crossing in the middle of the road is dangerous. And DO NOT PLAY IN TRAFFIC!

As for drivers, avoid looking at your cellphone. A text message isn’t worth your life. Watch out for children on bikes, because they can be unpredictable. Always stop at a bus that is loading and unloading. Allow extra time on your drive. If needed, plan a route that avoids school zones. Always stop at stop signs. Research shows that two-thirds of drivers tend to roll through stop signs in and/or around school zones. And be careful backing out of your driveway, children can cross your driveway when walking up and down the sidewalk.