Q The unsafe driving practices around schools, particularly during the morning and afternoon, need to stop. ... It's almost impossible to drive around any school without being tailgated trying to go 25 mph. ... School just started and already I see parents on cellphones and letting their kids jaywalk across the street, kids riding bikes on the wrong side of the road and tempers flaring. ... I got flipped off on my kids' first day of school by a driver mad at my going 25 mph. Please, people, chill!

Jarrod Hicks, Pam Marie, Ann Martinez and more

A Most schools will be in session this week or next, and already the complaints are rolling in. Police will be out clamping down on school-zone scofflaws -- who are too often parents. Here are some of the biggest violations: double parking, illegal U-turns, speeding, stopping in traffic lanes to drop off kids, jaywalking and yakking on cellphones.

AAA recommends:

  • Slow down. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed than a pedestrian struck by one traveling just 10 mph faster.

  • Eliminate distractions. Children often cross the road unexpectedly and may emerge suddenly between two parked cars. Taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing.


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  • Watch for blind spots. Check for children on the sidewalk, driveway and around your vehicle before slowly backing up.

  • Come to a complete stop. More than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods.

  • Watch for bicycles. Children on bikes are often inexperienced, unsteady and unpredictable. Slow down and allow at least 3 feet of passing distance between your vehicle and the bicycle. If your children ride bikes to school, make sure they wear properly fitted helmets.

    Q School will be starting up soon at Harker off Saratoga Avenue and Interstate 280 in San Jose, and I am dreading the day it does. Traffic northbound on Saratoga backs up beyond Moorpark in the morning, and the lanes are congested with people exiting I-280 and attempting to get over out of the Harker traffic. It's a complete mess. Can anything be done?

    Geoff Alves

    San Jose

    A Harker officials say they are trying, and when classes start Tuesday they will for the first time offer a bus service from Alpine Road and Foothill College off I-280. The school has also produced a parent instructional video for morning traffic behavior. More than 700 cars use the one entrance between 7:15 and 8:05 each morning, and Greg-the-Harker-Man says: "I know it's holy heck on Saratoga Avenue. Some of our eastbound parents say it can take them 20 minutes just to get from Blackford Avenue into the campus. I'm glad I walk to work.

    "Complications? Despite how much we communicate with parents about the dangers, many of them still text or make phone calls while in the lot. We've even seen some putting on makeup, or my favorite, one gentlemen who was eating a bowl of cereal. It's a fragile balance, the movement of cars in and out. The delay of one car because a parent is distracted can impact the entire process."

    Q Isn't it about time for the 40 mph signs on Highway 17 to come down?

    Todd Patterson

    Felton

    A The 40 mph limit through the almost-completed construction zone north of Summit Road will be removed soon and the 50 mph limit put back in place. Caltrans says some minor cleanup work remains before the speed limit can be raised to 50.

    Q San Jose made some improvements on Almaden Expressway between Highway 85 and Blossom Hill Road. Northbound Almaden now has a broken, then solid white stripe on the right side of the road. It goes to a broken stripe just before Foxchase. Some people drive in it and some don't upon entering or exiting Almaden. Is it a real lane for that distance, like a merge lane? Unfortunately, it is the same lane where the VTA buses stop.

    Robert Kim

    San Jose

    A This is what county engineers call a multiuse wide shoulder, primarily for bicycles and buses. The first dashed section, about 100 feet right after Blossom Hill, is to allow buses to stop and vehicles to enter the gas station. The second dashed segment, before Foxchase, is to allow buses to merge and to let vehicles turn right on Foxchase.

    Have a gripe, minor annoyance or major problem with transportation? Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at mrroadshow@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5335.