Back to school is fast approaching and the Townsend Police Department is urging everyone to think about the safety of our students.

While parents and caregivers are focused on enjoying the last days of summer and doing their back to school shopping, the schools are getting ready for the students to return.

Soon there will be more children on the streets going to and from school and traffic will get a bit busier.

“Everyone can do their part to keep our students safe as they travel to and from school,” Police Chief Rick Bailey said.

“Together we can make sure our roads are safe.”

The Townsend Police Department is asking everyone to remember these safety tips.

Community members

* Plan ahead and leave a bit earlier for your commute to accommodate the school bus stops and traffic backups.

* Keep an eye out for children crossing the street, especially during the early morning pick-up and late afternoon drop-off.

* Don’t text or talk on the phone as it takes you attention away from the road.

* Watch for school buses and be sure to pay attention to their lights; overhead flashing yellow lights mean you should prepare to stop; flashing yellow lights means drive with caution; overhead lights flashing red means stop.

Parents and caregivers

* Prepare children that walk to bike to school by taking practice runs and mapping out the safest route and best places to cross the street.

* If you do have walkers or bikers, make sure to teach them about the rules of the road.

* Be sure children are not wearing earbuds or using their phones while walking, biking or waiting for the bus so they can pay attention to their surroundings.

* Remind those that take the bus to keep back a safe distance from the curb and to always look for cars before getting on or off the bus.

* While they are on the bus, children should keep in their seats and listen to the instructions of the driver.