Editorial: It’s that time

Monday is Labor Day, the unofficial end to summer, and school begins the very next day. Wilton students have gotten a reprieve from going back to class in August, and so they and their families are able to enjoy the last few days of freedom from bus schedules, homework, and a myriad of after-school commitments.

The rest of us, however, also need to take note of that opening bell, especially if we are out driving. After a break from seeing buses on the roads, they will be back, and they sometimes delay traffic. So, if you can’t be patient and wait — and sometimes it can be trying as a bunch of kids make their way onto the bus talking, checking their phones, saying goodbye to Mom or Dad caring not a whit for the line of cars forming in both directions — take note of what time it is and adjust your schedule a few minutes before or after.

If you get stuck, you’re stuck. Never, ever, ever pass a school bus in either direction when its red lights are flashing. Do not tailgate a school bus.

Become familiar with the bus stops in your neighborhood and be extra careful in the morning as you drive on residential roads, keeping an eye out for youngsters waiting for the bus. You never know when someone might dart out from a driveway.

Be extra careful when driving past schools. The intersection of Route 7 and Catalpa Road, right at Wilton High School, has been the scene of a number of accidents. All it takes is some distraction. Someone’s on their phone talking or texting, someone runs a stop sign or a red light.

Parents, teach your children to obey school bus safety rules:

  • Stay out of the road when waiting for the bus.

  • Use handrails when getting on and off.

  • If crossing in front of the bus, walk at least 10 feet ahead until the driver is visible.

  • When the driver signals for students to cross, they should look right and left before doing so.

And, though no one ever listens to this, slow down. Many of our roads are narrow and winding. Visibility can be poor. It is impossible to know if there is a bicyclist, runner, walker, or even a fallen tree limb around the next curve. Or maybe a stopped school bus with kids getting on or off.

Not everyone rides the bus. Parents of older kids who drive to school should gently  remind them to always buckle up and obey the rules of the roads. Everything mentioned above applies to them, too.

Have a great year!