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Police urge motorists to slow down for kids

Speeding through school zone could bring a hefty fine

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With many schools back in session, police want to remind drivers to be safe.

In fact, some of the steepest fines are for speeding in school zones. In Salt Lake City, such a fine could cost $88 to $390, depending on the driver's speed.

"You always want to be paying attention to kids crossing the streets with the crossing guards," said Salt Lake police Sgt. Jim Hill. "And the speed limit in school zones is 20 mph. We have traffic officers enforcing the school zones on a frequent basis. We don't want to have any mishaps involving children, so (drivers) need to be aware of when buses stop, they're likely to be discharging or taking on schoolchildren."

When a school bus is stopped and its lights are flashing, traffic on both sides must stop. All Salt Lake area school buses have flashing lights as a warning sign for the public. In addition, some buses are equipped with dropping stop arms, Hill said.

"The only time you can pass is if you happen to be on a divided highway where there's a physical barrier," he added.

Hill offered these other year-round tips for drivers:

Signal for at least three seconds before changing lanes. "It's common courtesy to signal that you're going to be trying to change lanes," Hill said. And it's the law.

Use the two-second rule. When following a car, pick a point on the side of the road and time the difference between the time the car ahead passes it and the time when you pass it. It should be at least two seconds apart, Hill said.

Be nice in general. "If someone allows you into a lane, wave all your fingers instead of just one," Hill said.

Don't let rage get the best of you. "Pull over and collect your thoughts," Hill said. "You're driving 2,000 or 3,000 pounds, and you need to be able to steer your emotions properly before getting back on the road and driving.

Yield to pedestrians.

When the temperature is high, people become impatient, Hill said. Lately that's been the case, and waiting for parking spots or traffic lights becomes a chore.

"Certainly, if we have traffic accidents, the wait increases," Hill said. "So we would ask people to drive carefully, be considerate of others."

E-MAIL: lhancock@desnews.com