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This year, back to school also means back to traffic | Here's what you need to know

11Alive Traffic Tracker Crash Clark offers up the pitfalls you'll want to avoid.

ATLANTA — Ready or not, back to school also means traffic jams right around the corner.

With more cars back out on the road, as parents have begun returning to offices this year and students are set to get back to in-person learning, 11Alive Traffic Tracker Crash Clark is breaking down what you need to know to keep kids safe in school zones.

"As we get back to school traffic, that is going to be the real wake-up call for all of us that congestion is back, traffic is back, so pack your patience," said Natalie Dale with the Georgia Department of Transportation.

RELATED: Distracted driving leading to more fatal accidents in Georgia, officials say

Atlanta drivers aren't exactly known for quietly waiting in their cars for congestion to clear up - so Dale said we've all got to re-educate ourselves on the rules of the road before those alarm clocks get moved up up earlier for back to school.

"People (will be) really having to dial in that morning commute in a way they haven't had to," Dale said. "We've had flexed schedules, we've had teleworking."

Dale said we need to slow down when children are present, and remember that schools have speed zones.

And this requires a reminder every year: You've got to stop for those school buses when those stop signs come out. The only exception is if you're on the other side of a divided highway.

"We seem to have forgotten just some general driving behavior - good driving behavior - because of we haven't had to deal with this in a while," Dale said.

She also recommends navigation apps - not because we don't know where we're going, but because the apps might know a faster route than our normal way of getting to school.

"They are reading the road really, these apps are telling you where the congestion is, where you can make up time, or where you can take an alternate route," Dale said. "Believe them"

This year back to school also means back to traffic, a one-two punch that has all of us on edge.

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