SAVANNAH, GA (August 4, 2015): Savannah-Chatham County Public School System students return to class on Thursday, Aug. 6. With the excitement of back-to-school season in the air, Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department compiled a list of back-to-school safety tips for area children, families and community members.


When walking to school, remember the following:

  • Establish a buddy system for kids who walk to and from school. Arrange for groups of two to three students to walk together preferably with an adult escort.
  • Students should avoid walking through short cuts, vacant lots or alleys. Entering or walking in close proximity to abandoned houses should also be avoided.
  • Be alert while in route to and from school or on school grounds. ALL suspicious activity should be reported to law enforcement officers, school staff or parents.
  • Make sure children memorize important emergency contact information, such as: home telephone numbers, home addresses and a parent’s work phone number. A card containing this information can be placed in backpacks or shoes.
  • Implement an after school pick-up procedure for children to adhere to such as a secret password. Passwords can be utilized when adults other than the child’s usual designee is tasked with picking them up. Children should know the designated password will be provided before they are to leave school grounds with anyone different.

When riding the school bus, remember the following:

  • Always wait for school buses at the bus top, and position yourself at least five big steps from the curb.
  • When exiting the school bus, check the rear of the bus before stepping off the bottom step. Take five giant steps straight out the bus door, and out of the danger zone.
  • Cross streets at marked crosswalks. Verify that your path is clear by looking left-right-left before proceeding.


When sharing the road with school buses:

  • Never pass a bus stopped to load or unload children. It’s illegal!
  • Remember, a school bus’s yellow flashing lights tell motorists the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children.
  • A school bus’s red flashing lights accompanied by an extended stop sign arm tells drivers the bus is currently stopped and children are getting on or off.
  • Traffic in both directions should stop on undivided roadways as children enter or exit school buses. Traffic moving in the same direction as a bus on divided roadways also should stop.
  • Never pass a school bus on the right.
  • Children are in the most danger of being hit in the 10-foot area around a school bus. Drivers should begin preparing to stop at a distance far enough to allow children the needed space to safely enter and exit the bus.
  • Be sure to make eye contact with children entering and exiting buses to acknowledge that they see your vehicle.

When sharing the road with pedestrians:

  • Do not put pedestrians in harm’s way. Motorists should never block crosswalks while stopped at red lights or waiting to turn.
  • Never stop with a portion of your vehicle over a crosswalk, as this forces pedestrians to go around, thus, putting them in a dangerous situation.
  • Always yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and at intersections. Come to a complete stop if pedestrians are crossing or preparing to cross.
  • Never pass another vehicle that has stopped or is slowing down at a crosswalk.
  • Remember, bicyclists are not considered pedestrians unless they are walking their bikes. Otherwise, they are considered vehicles.