It’s back to school time for Amarillo, and that means time for back to school driving rules, too.

You may have heard before, but it takes a village to raise a child.  Even if your part is driving carefully and minding school zones and is as close to child rearing as you get, you are still a part of the dynamic environment surrounding each child.  It’s easy to do your part.

First, to state the obvious, Amarillo is in a traffic crisis currently.  With the construction on I-40 causing many to reroute their travels, congestion all over the city is endemic.  Add to that a few school buses and countless parents dropping off or picking up their kids and you’ve got a real mess brewing.  The best way to do you part is leave early and provide plenty of time to get to your destination.  When you’re stressed and in a hurry you are dangerous.

Congestion around schools is always problematic under the best of conditions.  Expect it to be a little worse this school year.  Again, like I-40, if you don’t have to be in that area, reroute around it.  You’ll be doing your part out by not being there.

Be alert for school zones where the speed limit is 20.  And although there are designated and monitored crosswalks in school zones, do not expect those to be the exclusive spot to be mindful of children.  The school zones are large for a reason, be ready for and expect to see children at any time.  That’s doing your part.

Stay vigilant around school buses and watch for the flashing red lights.  When activated there are children either getting on or off the bus.  You must observe those red flashing lights and come to and stay at a stop while they are activated.

And finally, maintain safe practices for cell phone usage.  Laws for using a phone in a school zone are more strict and harsh than for a simple municipal violation.  And regardless of the penalties, it’s dangerous.  There will be plenty of time to deal with your phone later, after you navigate the labyrinth of school zones, kids, and buses.

Remember, it takes a village. Do your part and drive school safe this fall!