BIRMINGHAM Ala. (WIAT) — Extra traffic is expected as school begins for many next week.

Local police officials are saying traffic will be tough to handle during the first week of school. They ask that those coming through school zones drive with caution.

Mountain Brook High School resource officer, Richard Knecht, says traffic can be very hectic when the school year begins.

He says students of all ages will be crossing streets to get to school. For extra protection, Knecht says school staff will assist police and school resource officers in directing traffic, especially near cross walks.

“We’re gonna have kids crossing the street. We’re gonna have kids on bicycles. We’re gonna have kids everywhere,” said Knecht. ”So, we’re gonna have a lot of staff out helping from the schools- not just police officers.”

With so many families, students, and drivers coming through school zones, Knecht stresses that all who enter need to drive safely.

To protect the lives of others, police officials highly encourage drivers to follow the school zone speed limits, pay attention to nearby surroundings, and avoid all potential distractions like cell phone usage.

“If we can get parents not to be on their phone and paying attention, you know, even that cup of coffee or that bagel that you might get over here in crestline might take your eyes off the road for just a minute and put somebody’s life at risk,” said Knecht.

Hoover police captain, Keith Czeskleba, recommends that parents and others driving through school zones leave home earlier than usual to avoid accidents caused by rushing. 

Czeskleba says following school zone directions and accounting for extra traffic ahead of time will help both traffic flow and safety.

“The best advice is to just be patient and follow the instructions of the SRO’s and the school personnel as they help you get your kid dropped off and get you on to your intended destination,” said Czeskleba.

Czeskleba says after the first week of school, heavy traffic will likely level out and everyone will then be used to a new traffic routine.