There’s good reason to feel the anticipation this week as schools in and around Danville open for what is hoped to be a normal school year. Unfortunately, the resurgent coronavirus is infusing more than a little anxiety into the start of school, and the masking controversy is tamping down the excitement more than it should.

But with all that extracurricular tension swirling around, it’s an important time to remind people that the start of school creates hazardous conditions in school zones or wherever school buses may be operating. It’s been a while since schools have been completely open, so the additional traffic congestion and volume may surprise motorists at first. It may take a while to get accustomed to the flow of vehicle and pedestrian traffic, in addition to other school-related activities. We urge you to be aware and extremely cautious as new traffic patterns emerge.

There are a few driving safety tips from area police agencies to consider when setting out on school mornings:• Always watch for stopped school buses in the morning hours and afternoon hours.

• Watch for children walking to and from school and waiting at bus stops.

• Always keep your eyes on the road and be patient driving behind school buses.

Schools zones offer the most hazardous conditions. Abide by these safety guidelines in school zones:

• Be on the lookout for school zone signals and obey the speed limits.

• When entering a school zone, be sure to slow down and obey all traffic laws.

• Always stop for school buses that are loading or unloading children.

• Watch out for school crossing guards and obey their signals.

• Be aware of and watch out for children near schools, bus stops, sidewalks, in the streets, and in school parking lots.

• Never pass other vehicles while driving in a school zone.

• Never text while driving in a school zone.

• Avoid using a cell phone, unless it is completely hands-free, while driving in a school zone.

The Illinois State Police have said its police agencies are stepping up their enforcement in and around school zones as schools open in an effort to make things as safe as possible for kids.

Police will be focusing especially on distracted driving actions, which are the single most dangerous violations that occur in school zones.

This enhanced enforcement is appreciated and we applaud the effort.

Safety is your responsibility. Be a good citizen. Be careful. Be safe.

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