With over 55 million kids across the country heading back to school, AAA Michigan is helping to prevent tragedies with Back to School safety tips.

According to AAA Michigan, 13 percent of children typically walk or bike to school. AAA is warning drivers to be especially vigilant for pedestrians and bicyclists before, during and after school hours. Afternoon hours are especially dangerous for walking children. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the highest percentage of fatalities - 42 - among those under the age of 15 occurred between 4 and 8 p.m.

Susan Hiltz, Public Affairs Director for AAA Michigan, says "AAA reminds everyone to be extra cautious the first day of school. Buses, car pools and changing traffic patterns present challenges to all drivers. Being alert and putting the safety of Michigan's children first is of the utmost importance."

AAA Michigan recommends the following life saving tips to keep safe:

Drivers

  • Watch your speed, especially in and around school zones.
  • Obey all school zone signs, signals and markings.
  • Always come to complete stops and check carefully for children on sidewalks and crosswalks before proceeding.
  • Keep eyes on the road at all times. Very often kids cross the road unexpectedly.

Pedestrians/Bicyclists

  • Be sure the street is clear before you cross. Look left, right and left again.
  • Use traffic signals and crosswalks when available to cross.
  • Walk, don't run.
  • Don't enter the roadway between cars, bushes or shrubs.
  • Wear a bicycle helmet.
  • When cycling on the street, always ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Make it easy for drivers to see you.

For more tips and other information, click here.