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Officials warn drivers to be careful as back to school makes roads busier

Officials give tips for driving safely during back to school season
Officials give tips for driving safely during back to school season 02:54

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Back to school affects not only schools, students and families but also other drivers on the roads.

"It's very important that you realize that our streets are going to be much more busy and for that reason, they're going to be much more dangerous," said Tiffany Stanley with AAA East Central. 

Going back to school can be a dangerous time of year as new and inexperienced drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists share the road in the morning and afternoon hours.

Last year alone in Allegheny County, AAA says there were 301 pedestrian crashes. Of those, 14 happened on Fifth and Forbes avenues in Oakland near Pitt's campus. 

"I feel like I know people who have had close calls," said Pitt student Naveeha Affan.

With that in mind, AAA says drivers can save lives by having a heightened sense of awareness from the minute they leave their driveways. And the most important thing they can do to reduce injury is slow down and stay off their cell phones. 

"We don't want yet another person to lose their life for us to realize this is a very serious issue," said Stanley. 

According to AAA, a pedestrian hit while a car is going 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed compared to a pedestrian hit going just 10 mph faster.

It's just as important for pedestrians to be vigilant on the road as it is motorists. 

"Anything you can do to be more visible is absolutely necessary," said Yasmeen Manyisha with PennDOT. "That can be anything from wearing bright-colored clothing to if you're walking at night, making sure you're wearing reflective gear as well." 

School bus safety is also a high priority. In 2020, PennDOT says there were over 150 school bus crashes in Pennsylvania alone. We can reduce that by simply following the laws. 

"Make sure anytime the flashing lights are on and the stop sign is pulled out, you're stopping at least 10 feet away from the school bus. The only time that there's an exception to that is when there is a physical barrier in between the lanes," said Manyisha. 

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