As Oklahoma students head back to the classroom this fall, many will be using their feet as the primary mode of transportation to school. That means it is important to keep safety precautions in mind, especially when they are walking near traffic.

As a basic rule, walkers should obey all traffic signs, signals and laws, as well as any adult school crossing guards. Younger children walking to school should be accompanied by an adult. Children can be at increased risk of injury because they are smaller, can have trouble judging distances and speeds of cars and do not have a lot of experience applying traffic laws.

Regardless of the age of the children, family members should work together to map out the safest route. Parents and caregivers should talk with their children about sticking to the chosen route, not letting their friends talk them into taking shortcuts and not hitchhiking or accepting rides from people they don’t know or who weren’t sent by their parents.

Walkers should use sidewalks, if they are available. If not, keep to the shoulder of the road, facing traffic. Pay attention. Keep distractions, such as cell phones or other electronic devices, to a minimum. It is hard to pay attention to the surroundings when looking down at a gadget. Walkers should watch for parked, oncoming or moving vehicles when crossing driveways and intersections.

Use caution at intersections and crosswalks. Before crossing a street or intersection, stop and check the traffic. Only begin crossing when there is no traffic coming. Walkers should continue to keep a close eye on any traffic until they’ve safely crossed the street.