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Before school starts, brush up on safe driving habits

In the coming weeks, students all across Illinois will be heading back to school. It might seem like the beginning of school only affects kids and their parents, but every person around the state should be aware that classes are about to be back in session because with that should come some changes to how everyone drives.

To begin with, drivers should always use caution when driving around a school. In many cases, there are clearly marked crosswalks for pedestrians in these areas and drivers should be very cautious and yield to people crossing the street. Drivers should also slow down and be extra focused on scanning the roadways for things like children, toys or other debris that may be in the road around schools.

It is also crucial for all drivers to obey traffic laws when they are sharing the road with a school bus. These buses typically make frequent stops to pick up passengers or if they approach a railroad crossing. Bus drivers should alert other motorists by flashing the appropriate lights and extending the stop sign arm if necessary and the other drivers should know what they are expected to do in those situations.

Bus operators and owners also have a responsibility to be safe. Operators must be properly trained, licensed and focused on safe driving whenever they are behind the wheel. Owners must be sure to repair any broken or unsafe parts on a bus and comply with state inspection and maintenance requirements.

When and if an accident involving school buses or students occurs, victims and their families should remember that they have the right to explore their options for legal action. By filing a claim against a negligent or reckless party, those affected by a crash can seek the compensation and accountability they deserve.

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