The weeks of summer have flown by. Stores have fall merchandise on display, summer vacations and the North Dakota State Fair are just memories - and the kids are headed back to school. Some area schools begin classes this week, while Minot public schools and Minot State University begin classes next week.
The school year makes special demands on motorists. Some are slow to adjust for a new season of flashing "school zone" lights and slow-moving school buses and vehicles dropping off students at school. It takes just a single lapse for an accident to occur.
Pay attention, we urge area motorists. School zone speeds can seem awfully slow when you're in a hurry to get to work, but it can seem terribly fast if a child darts out into the street in front of you - and you can't stop your car quickly enough to avoid hitting them.
The same idea is relevant for motorists who encounter stopped school buses on rural roads. When the buses are motionless, either loading students onto the bus or allowing them to get off, the youngsters are at great risk. That's why the lights flashing on a stopped bus mean STOP. No if's, and's, or but's about it.
It's been a strange couple of summers in Minot and the surrounding areas, with the flood in 2011 and the effects that have lingered well into 2012. Some traffic lights were only recently restored to working order in Minot, and that's made driving interesting, to say the least. There are also more young people driving to school, so streets will be even busier than usual.
As schools resume classes in our area, let's all pay attention - and keep the kids on buses and behind the wheel safe.