ROCKY MOUNT, Va. -

Whether it's traffic, new drivers or strangers, the back-to-school season could bring potential dangers that police want parents to keep in mind.

Officer Derek Spencer with the Rocky Mount Police Department says traffic can be a danger to children.

He says drivers need to be especially careful during the morning hours of around 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. That's when children are on their way to school -- getting on and off the bus, crossing the street, etc. Spencer adds that students are dismissed from school anywhere from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and drivers should be aware and slow down.

Spencer says the school-zone speed limit is 25 mph. Anyone caught speeding could face up to $250 fine, plus court costs. Drivers who pass a stopped school bus picking up or dropping off children can face charges equal to reckless driving. Conviction stays on your record for 11 years.

Spencer says something else to consider is new drivers. Teens who have just gotten their licenses or passed drivers education may be heading to school for the first time.

He recommends new drivers to leave 15 minutes earlier than they normally would, so they can follow all traffic laws and safely reach their destination. Spencer urges more experienced drivers to be patient.

Sergeant Allan Arrington with the Rocky Mount Police Department says another danger children may encounter is potential predators near schools or bus stops. Though he says it's not a common problem in Franklin County, Arrington says it's a conversation parents should have with their children.

"Not everyone is a bad person," Arrington said, "but they need to discuss with their children that there are people that are, and how they should react if someone makes them feel uncomfortable or asks them to do something that they're not comfortable doing."

Arrington says a child should never get in the car with anyone, unless the person is a relative or a very familiar family friend. If a child feels uncomfortable, he or she should say "no" and walk away.