JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – As schools reopen across Mississippi, leaders with AAA are advising everyone, including drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians, to be safe as they make their way to schools.

According to AAA, back to school travel is expected to be crowded and could be hazardous on Mississippi roads due unexperienced drivers in the early morning and afternoons.

These unexperienced drivers usually consist of high school students, who may have just received a car, or grade school children, who are counted as pedestrians or bicyclists, heading to and from school.

Don Redman, a spokesman for AAA-Mississippi, said drivers should limit distractions like cell phones to prevent possible accidents. He said most driving-related accidents are connected to drivers being distracted.

Redman said the number one distraction for a teen driver is another teen passenger. He said a majority of teen driving accidents occur from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

“We’re just encouraging all drivers to just slow down, especially for our first time drivers reporting to school,” he stated.

Redman said drivers should be on the lookout for possible children in school zones and residential areas crossing the street.

AAA encourages students to consider the following tips throughout the school year:

For Pedestrians 

  • Pay attention at all times. Avoid texting or wearing headphones, so you can detect nearby traffic.   
  • Use sidewalks where available. If not, walk against the direction of traffic so you can see oncoming vehicles. 
  • Make yourself easier to be seen by wearing reflective, bright colored clothing or vest if your school requires uniforms.  

For Bicyclists 

  • Wear a helmet and neon or bright colored clothes or vest.  
  • Ride in the same direction as traffic and stay as far to the right as possible. Use bike lanes when you can.
  • Do not wear headphones so you can detect approaching traffic. 
  • Cross the street at intersections. Do not pull into the roadway from between parked cars. 

For more information on how to keep you teen to stay safe through driving, click here.