With the start of school upon us, drivers in New Mexico need to be extra cautious on the roads. The school year means there are more kids walking or riding their bikes to school, and there is a batch of new drivers who are still learning the nuances of navigating a car. There are a number of precautions children and drivers can take to keep accidents to a minimum.

Children who walk or ride their bikes to school are particularly at risk, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration points out some important information to keep them safe on the road. Some safety tips include:

  • Put electronics and phones away to decrease distractions
  • Pedestrians should use the sidewalk and bikers the bike lane, when available
  • Use crosswalks and obey traffic signals
  • Always look both ways before crossing the street
  • Helmets should always be worn by bikers

New drivers are excited to drive to school and transport their friends around, which poses extra danger. Because teenage drivers are involved in the most fatal car accidents, the following tips should always be followed:

  • No cell phone use
  • Seat belt use for everyone
  • Booster or car seats need to be used for young passengers
  • Drive the speed limit and keep a look out for children

USA Today reports that young drivers should also make sure they get eight to 10 hours of sleep each night to decrease their crash risk. Unfortunately, the majority of schools start the day before 8:30 am, which has shown to increase the number of motor vehicle accidents because of drowsiness. In fact, if schools started even one hour later, the number of crashes may decrease by more than 15%.

Before you send your kids off to school or get behind the wheel, make sure you review these tips to keep everyone safe.