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As the school year kicks off this week for the Hopewell Valley Regional School District and numerous other districts across Mercer County, the Hopewell Township Police Department issued a reminder to motorists to use extra caution when driving, going through crosswalks, and traveling near local schools. The message was posted on the department’s Facebook page this afternoon, and is a good reminder for all local motorists to help keep school children, teachers, parents and staff safe this year.

The driving safety tips, prepared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, read as follows:

•Slow down and obey all traffic laws and speed limits, both in school zones and in neighborhoods surrounding the school.

•Comply with local school drop-off and pick-up procedures for the safety of all children accessing the school. Follow the direction of crossing guards to ensure that pedestrians are able to cross streets safely.

•Avoid double parking or stopping on crosswalks to let children out of the car. Double parking will block visibility for other children and other motorists. Visibility is further reduced during the rain and fog seasons when condensation forms on car windows.

•Avoid loading or unloading children at locations across the street from the school. This forces youngsters to unnecessarily cross busy streets—often mid-block rather than at a crosswalk.

•Prepare to stop for a school bus when overhead yellow lights are flashing. Drive with caution when you see yellow hazard warning lights are flashing on a moving or stopped bus.

•Stop for a school bus with its red overhead lights flashing, regardless of the direction from which the driver is approaching. Drivers must not proceed until the school bus resumes motion and the red lights stop flashing, or until signaled by the school bus driver to proceed.

•Watch for children walking or bicycling (both on the road and the sidewalk) in areas near a school.

•Watch for children playing and gathering near bus stops. Watch for children arriving late for the bus, who may dart into the street without looking for traffic.

•Watch for children walking or biking to school when backing up (out of a driveway or leaving a garage).

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Andrea Fereshteh has been writing for as long as she can remember. An avid journal-keeper as a child, she dabbled in dramatic notes to her parents and designed her own stationary. With a zest for small talk and meeting new people, she pursued journalism in college and worked for nine years in PR, writing and media relations for the higher ed and nonprofit sectors. She has a mousters and ducktorate from Disney University and is a mother to two lively boys who inspire her to just keep writing, just keep writing.

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