BACK to School Time! North Carolina Department of Public Safety -- Important Safety Tips  & Important Reminders!



Bus Stops

North Carolina has 13,000 school buses traveling approximately 250,000 miles a day. These tips should help make these traveling miles safer for children:

There are three blind spots where the bus driver can lose sight of a child:

FRONT DANGER ZONE - It's never safe to walk close to the front of the bus. Children should walk five giant steps ahead of the bus before crossing in front of it.
SIDE DANGER ZONE - Children should always stay three giant steps away from the side of the bus.
REAR DANGER ZONE - NEVER walk behind the school bus.

Parents or a trusted adult should be at the bus stop every morning and afternoon.
Be cautious about strangers.
Be at least five minutes early to catch the bus.
Always stay out of the road.
Wait for the bus to stop before you get on or off.
Walk (don't run) three giant steps away from the bus when getting off.
When the bus approaches, step back from the curb at least three giant steps.
NEVER run to catch the bus.
If you have to walk on roads where there is no sidewalk, walk against traffic and out of the road.
Stay out of the road, and wait for the bus to stop BEFORE you WALK to it.
Make sure you can see the bus driver's eyes when boarding or crossing in front of the bus.
If you must cross the street to get to the bus, always look left, then right, then left again.
Use the handrail when you get off the bus.
Make sure there are no dangling pieces of clothing, drawstrings on hoods, untied shoestrings, key chains or backpack straps that could get caught on the handrail or in the bus door.
If you drop something under or near the bus, DON'T pick it up until you tell the bus driver. Otherwise, the driver may not see you.
If you leave something on the bus, DON'T run after the bus to get it.
Stay away from the bus wheels, and watch for moving cars.


Road Tips  

Motorists involved in a minor, non-injury accident on a four-lane highway may move their vehicles to the shoulder of the road if the total damage is less than $1,000 and no one is injured.

Approaching cars
If an approaching car crosses the center line into your path, reduce your speed immediately, sound your horn and keep to the right even if this means running off the road.

When a tire blows, there is a loud noise and the car begins to swerve. If that should happen, do the following:

Hold the steering wheel tightly and try to keep the car straight on your side of the road.
Take your foot off the gas to reduce speed.
Do not apply the brakes until the engine has slowed the car to allow you to maintain control of the vehicle.
Find a safe place to move the vehicle completely off the road.
Break Downs

Exit the main part of the road or move the vehicle completely onto the shoulder of the road.
Leave the car by the passenger side and do not allow passengers to remain in the car.
Stand off the road and away from the car. Do not stand in front of or to the rear of the vehicle.
If you need help, tie a white cloth to the left door handle or the radio aerial and raise the hood of the car.
If it is dark, turn on the parking lights or emergency flashers. Always have flashlights or flares in your car for emergencies.
If the vehicle becomes disabled on the roadway, do not remain in the vehicle. Activate your car's hazard lights. Stand off of the roadway while waiting for assistance.

Don't drive through puddles or standing water. You can lose control of your car even in six inches of water.
Don't drive through flooded road sections. If you can't see the markings on the road, don't drive through the water. As little as a foot of water can sweep your car away.
If your brakes are wet, dry them by driving a short distance and applying light pressure to the brake pedal.

Turn on the low beam headlights.
Reduce your driving speed and be alert for taillights of the vehicle in front of you.
Watch for vehicles behind you.

Be alert to warning signs of standing water on the roadway such as visible reflections on the surface of the water, dimples created by rain drops as they hit the water, a slushing sound made by your tires and a loose feeling in your steering wheel.
If you begin to hydroplane, take your foot off the gas pedal. Resist your instinct to use the brakes.
Keep the steering wheel straight and let the cars momentum ease down until the tires grip the road again and you regain control.
If the vehicle skids, turn the wheel into the skid.
Move Over Law
Move over to the farthest lane of travel when approaching any emergency vehicle with its lights flashing on a four-lane highway. Motorists should continue traveling in that lane at a reduced speed until safely clear of the emergency vehicle.


Do not immediately apply the brakes or try to turn back; you could skid, lose control and overturn.
Slowly remove your foot from the accelerator and steer straight ahead. · Allow the engine to slow the vehicle.
When the car is stopped or nearly stopped, check for approaching traffic, and if it?s safe, gradually drive back onto the road.
Other Important Road Tips ·

Secure objects in your car, even your pets. They can become missiles if you come to an abrupt stop. If a car is traveling at 60 miles per hour and comes to an abrupt stop, the objects inside will continue at that same speed until they strike something or someone, or until gravity slows them down. At that speed, even a box of tissue can hurt.
All North Carolina motorists are required to use headlights whenever they are using their windshield wipers in inclement weather.
Stop at red lights. Intersections are among the most dangerous driving situations. Most crashes happen five seconds after the light changes when red light runners broadside innocent drivers.
If you begin to feel a bumpy ride when there is not obvious reason, stop and check your tires. You may have a flat tire.
Don't drive while drowsy. It's equivalent to driving drunk. As soon as you become drowsy, open the windows, turn on the radio and pull off the road. Take a nap even if it's just for 20 minutes. If you're on a long trip, stop for the night.
To prevent excessive wear on brakes when moving down a long hill or steep grade, use a lower gear instead of the brake pedal to control speed. It is best to shift to a lower gear at the top of the hill before you descend.
Don't become distracted while driving. This includes eating, reading talking on a cell phone, grooming, adjusting the radio, or talking.
Do not rubberneck when you come upon a traffic accident.
Use seat belts.
Don't put children, ages four to eight, in adult seat belts. Use booster seats.
Don't put two children in one adult seat belt. It can be deadly.
Children under 12 should always sit in the back to protect themselves from airbags. A child is not ready for an adult seat until he is 4 feet 9 inches tall and weighs more than 80 pounds. ·
Adults should wear seatbelts and not depend on airbags alone. Seatbelts and airbags work together and without the seatbelt, an airbag could hit the driver or passenger in the chest with the impact of a baseball bat.
Head restraints should be as high as the top of the ears and as close to the head as possible.


Avoid skidding in icy, rainy, or snowy conditions by gradually reducing speed.
Start to move into second or high gear and slowly release the clutch (manual transmission) or use second gear (automatic transmission).
Pump the brakes gently to slow the car down. It gives the tires more traction.
If you're in a skid, slowly ease your foot off the accelerator. Turn the steering wheel in the direction the rear of the car is skidding. As soon as the vehicle's path begins to straighten, turn the steering wheel back the other way so you will not over-steer.
Twilight Walks

Wear light or white clothing. Florescent colors appear dark in low light.
Choose shoes, safety vests, jackets with retro-reflective patches that shine in headlights.
Carry a flashlight and keep it on so motorists will see it.
Remove your sunglasses at dusk.
Watch for Drunk Drivers

Always watch for the other guy. Look out for drivers who straddle the center line, swerve in and out of traffic, drift into other lanes, make wide turns, drive too slow or too fast, follow too closely, run up on the curb, run red lights, or drive at night without headlights.
If you spot a drunk driver, keep your distance and report the license plate number to the police or the Highway Patrol - *HP (*47) on any cellular phone.


A brief overview of current popular social media sites

Use Caution
Twitter – sharing quick bits about their lives with friends and receiving breaking news, celebrity gossip, and such. Twitter does offer posting photos as a part of the tweets, so users must be aware of any personal information that may be included in the photo, especially the items in the background. Twitter account settings allow users to require a request and approval for any new followers, and it is recommended to only allow those who the user knows to follow and view the tweets.

Google+ – virtual gatherings among approved friends with real-time video chats in hangouts, or circles. Teens who register automatically get privacy settings to help control what they share with whom. Only friends that are personally known to the user should be added to their circle.

Wanelo – (Want, Need, Love) combines shopping and fashion blogging with social networking. Teens discover and share products they like and can make purchases by clicking on a product's original site. Users are required to follow at least three stores. Caution/Monitoring should be used with younger teens using Wanelo due to some mature styles of clothing/lingerie being advertised.

Ooovoo – an after-school and homework application that is free with up to 12 approved-only friends. Teens can use video, voice and messaging for group studying – receiving face-to-face homework help from classmates. The critical step with this app is the selecting/approving of “friends”. Approvals should only be given to friends the user physically knows.

WhatsApp – users can send text or audio messages, videos and photos to one or many people for free. When a teen signs up, the app automatically connects to all the people in the teen's address book who are also using WhatsApp. The terms of service for this app require users to be at least 16 years of age. The app also regularly suggests adding additional friends or sending requests to contacts who have not signed up for the service.

Yo. – sends a short text message to friends and family that reads “Yo”, and speaks the word aloud. Released in mid-2014, the app lets friends and family know you're thinking about them. That's it. However, the simple design makes it an easy target for hackers.

Instagram – users, who are at least 13 years old, can share photos and 15-second videos either publicly or with a network of followers. Terms of service states users should not post partially nude or sexually suggestive photos, however these photos can easily be found when searching posts. Additionally, it doesn't address violence, swear words or drugs. Another pitfall is that teens may measure their self-worth by the number of followers their account has, or the number of likes or comments they receive on their posts. Also, privacy settings need to be adjusted or photos and videos shared on Instagram will be public. Once the account is set to private, discretion should be used in accepting follower requests to ensure that only people personally known to the user are allowed to be a follower.

Red Flags and Alarm Bells
Snapchat – commonly referred to as the Sexting App. Snapchat has a set number of seconds for users to view pictures or short videos that are received from other users before the data is automatically erased. However, a recipient could keep a copy. Most teens use Snapchat as a way to share fun, light, goofy moments with one another without the risk of it going public. However, the person receiving the Snapchat can take a screenshot of the image before it disappears, and then could share that that photo at any time and in any type of social media venue. Also, the seemingly risk-free messaging encourages some users to share pictures containing inappropriate content. Even someone using Snapchat for completely innocent purposes could be perceived or rumored as sharing inappropriate content, based on the common perception of the app.

Tumblr – a way to share photos, videos, musings and things teens find funny with their friends. If made public, anyone online can see this streaming scrapbook of text, photos, videos or audio clips. Users create and follow short blogs, or Tumblelogs that can often go viral online. Many teens like -- and in fact, want -- their posts reblogged. However, pornographic images and videos, depictions of violence, self-harm, drug use and offensive language are easily searchable from this app.

Vine – lets users post and watch looping six-second video clips that are often creative and funny -- and sometimes thought-provoking. Teens usually use Vine to create and share silly videos of themselves and/or their friends and family. However, it does contain inappropriate videos such as nudity and marijuana smoking.

Kik Messenger – is a free texting app that is fast, has no message or character limits, has lots of ads and can be used only with those who also have the app. It's said to be more fun in many ways than SMS texting. There's also a community blog where users can also submit photos of themselves as well as screenshots of messages. However, there's some stranger danger. When an app named OinkText is linked to Kik, communication with strangers is allowed. Since Kik uses real names, teens shouldn't use their full real name as their username. When using Kik, the individual's username should be protected and not publically shared on other social media sites or boards. – kids can anonymously ask questions as well as answer other users' questions. Questions can be friendly such as questions about favorite foods or crushes, but there can also be mean comments and sexual posts, given the users feeling of anonymity. This iffy content is part of's appeal for teens. Bullying is a major concern, and the site has been linked as a factor related to numerous suicides nationally.

Yik Yak – is a free, location-aware app that lets users anonymously post brief comments that are distributed geographically to the nearest 500 people who are also signed in to the app. Kids find out opinions, secrets and rumors from a 1.5 mile radius. The app's GPS updates the user's location every time it is turned on, revealing the user's location unless the toggle location sharing is turned off. Some teens use the app to threaten and be cruel to others. It contains cyberbullying, explicit sexual content, unintended location sharing and exposure to explicit information about drugs and alcohol. Some schools have banned access.

Omegle – an anonymous chat site that puts two strangers together in a text or video chat room. Chat partners can be filtered by shared interests, many of whom are searching for sexual chat. Some offer links to porn sites. Being anonymous can be very attractive to teens, and Omegle provides them a no-fuss opportunity to make connections. This is NOT an app for kids and teens.

Whisper – often sexual in nature, this app allows users to post whatever is on their minds anonymously and often accompanied by nearly-nude pictures. Teens think they can share their secret feelings without being judged. Some try to hook up with someone nearby, while others post confessions of desire. Topics include insecurity, depression, substance abuse, and various lies told to employers and teachers. The app encourages users to exchange personal information in the Meet Up section, so while it is anonymous to start, it may not stay anonymous. This is NOT an app for kids and teens.

Tinder – a dating app that creates a collection of Facebook photos and shows them to other interested parties in the area. Teens are using the app to match up with others for sexual relations. This is NOT an app for kids and teens.


Gun Safety

Always treat the gun as loaded.
Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
Always keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
Always keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to use it.
Never point the gun at anything you don't intend to destroy.
Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
Learn the mechanical and handling characteristics of the gun you are using.
Always use proper ammunition.
Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before loading and shooting.
If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, hold your shooting position for several seconds; then with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, carefully unload the gun.
Don't rely on the gun's safety to keep it from firing.
Be aware of your surroundings when handling guns so you don't trip or lose your balance and accidentally point and/or fire the gun at anyone or anything.
Rules for Safe Gun Storage
Keep all guns and ammunition out of the reach of children, untrained adults, and those who would use them improperly.
Always keep your guns locked in a Gun Safe that cannot be easily broken into or taken away. If one is not available, use a Cable Lock or Trigger Lock (one that goes behind the trigger is preferred) and store the guns out of the reach of those who should not have access to them.
Keep the keys to gun safes and gun locks hidden and out of the reach of those who should not have access to them.
Store your guns unloaded and with the safety on.
Keep the guns dry, cleaned, and oiled while in storage.
Store guns and ammunition in a dry cool place and away from heat and fire.


More Important Safety Information




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