MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - The Madison County Schools system begins the new year on Wednesday, and deputies say they will be out and about to monitor the school zones.
"It's time to get used to the traffic we'll have every morning and every afternoon," said Lt. Donny Shaw of the Madison County Sheriff's Office.
He advised that drivers anticipate the traffic to back up during arrival and dismissal.
"Anticipate some confusion, and the new student drivers who are going to and from the schools," Shaw also cautioned.
Shaw said this week, and likely part of next week, sheriff's deputies will be monitoring traffic near each school in the district. Each year, they see the same mistakes and they're hoping you'll avoid traffic violations during this busy time. Safety is paramount.
"We watch for following too closely, driving too fast, getting impatient and blowing the horn or getting upset with a deputy sheriff or crossing guard," Shaw listed. "We want to be out there and be seen, and have our presence known. The number one objective is to be a deterrent to bad habits and driving."
Shaw added that crossing guards want you to pay attention to where they ask you to stop. If there is a stop line or bar, that's a likely place. Go too far and you'll be in an intersection, and in the way.
"That's just going to create problems for the cross traffic," said Shaw, "that's either going into it or coming out of that area."
Shaw acknowledged that the first few days can be hectic. Parents, students, and other drivers sharing the road, can feel rushed. Deputies urge you not to try to make up time on the road.
"The best advice that I could give is to leave early," Shaw said. "Go ahead and get ready. Set your clocks early in the morning. Get out the door early and make it through the school zones. And if you do come across congestion in the school zones, be patient. We'll get it worked out by the end of the week."