It’s time.

Time to wake up early.

Time to wait on the arrival of school buses.

Time for the morning traffic to increase.

Time for students to return to school.

Lowndes County students return to classes Wednesday, Aug. 7. Valdosta students return to school Thursday, Aug. 8.

Returning to school means many things to many people, but we focus on its impact on the morning hours because it represents such a dramatic change in traffic.

For the past several weeks, anyone who has been up and on the roads early has enjoyed having area streets and highways almost all to themselves.

If you’re a regular early-morning walker, it’s amazing how quiet the 6:30-7 a.m. hour can be during the summer.

But that changes now.

With the return to school, the streets and highways are a non-stop rush of teachers and administrators driving to work, of parents scrambling to drop off their children at schools, of big yellow school buses stopping and starting as they pick up students waiting alongside the roads.

There will no longer be anything quiet along area roads during the early morning hours.

For almost every weekday, until some other school break, there will be a roar of moving traffic, most of which is fueled by schools.

So, if you’ve been regularly driving early throughout the summer, remember traffic changes this week.

If you haven’t driven during the early hours since school has let out, remember to get an early start.

In addition to the increased traffic, please remember school children and students will be huddled on street corners, in driveways and on roadsides waiting for the arrival of their school buses.

It’s a lesson as simple and as powerful as something taught in kindergarten: Watch out for one another.

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