(WETM) — School is already back in session in the Northern Tier and about to start in the Southern Tier, so we all have to get used to driving through school zones and sharing the road with buses again. 18 News spoke with Elmira Traffic Bureau Sergeant Joseph Linehan about how drivers can adapt to the back-to-school changes and stay safe.

“I think the biggest thing to remember, especially in the early couple of weeks of school is for everyone to be patient,” said Linehan. “There’s gonna be more drivers, there’s going to be more people that are dealing with drop offs at school and trying to get to work on time.”

While driving around the times school starts in the morning and ends in the afternoon, keep an eye out for children that may be walking to or from school or exiting school buses. Motorists should also pay attention to crossing guards and follow their directions.

It’s been a few months since they’ve been in effect, but motorists need to remember to slow down in school zones again. The speed limit in school zones is 15 or 20 mph in most areas from the time when children start to make their way to school to when after-school activities end. Be sure to check for reduced speed limit signs near schools.

School returning will impact motorists even when they aren’t driving near schools. Motorists need to stay alert near school buses and stop when their stop signs are out. Vehicles need to stop on both sides of the road, not just on the side where the bus is stopped. Additionally, motorists need to keep an eye out for the children that exit school buses in case they walk or run into the road.

Parents should talk to their school-aged children to make sure they’re taking steps to be safe near the roads as well. Kids should stand at least 10 feet away from the curb while waiting for the school bus in the morning. Kids also need to wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the bus driver signals before getting on. After exiting the bus to go home in the afternoon, kids need to wait for the bus driver to signal that it’s safe before crossing the road. Parents should also talk to their children about looking both ways before crossing the street and not walking in the road.