It’s back to school time and that means our roads (and lives) will be busier again! Get prepared for school buses, a higher volume of children walking on the road and parents picking up and dropping off in school zones. Drivers need to be cautious and take extra care on the road.
In Canada, more children acquire pedestrian-related injuries in the months of September and October and the most frequently reported child pedestrian action that results in injury or death is crossing at an intersection followed by running onto the road 1.
As drivers, we can affect pedestrian safety and reduce child pedestrian injury by how we act and react behind the wheel.
Here are my Top 5 Tips for drivers to help navigate this busy back to school time on the road and to help keep our kids safe:
1. Reduce Speed: Be aware of school zone signage and reduce your speed in school zones.
2. Check Your Patience: Wait for children to complete their crossing before proceeding. They often change their minds so as drivers, provide them with ample time to cross safely.
3. Stop for School Buses: Stop at least 20 meters behind a school bus when the upper red lights begin to flash and wait until the flashing stops. Motorists traveling in both directions must stop for a school bus except if the road is divided by a median.
4. Do the Drop Off Zones: If you are driving children to school, drop them off in a safe area away from traffic – most schools have designated drop off zones.
5. Scan for Children: Use the ground viewing technique to scan under parked cars for the feet of children approaching traffic. Children are difficult to see between parked vehicles and this technique will help drivers anticipate and slow down or safely stop for a child that may dart out into traffic.
1 Statistic from Safe Kids Canada