It’s that time of year again! The end of a calm and relaxing summer and the beginning of new routines that include healthy eating, earlier bedtimes and of course, a new school year. And with a new school year comes busier roads flooded with parents and children of all ages making their way to the classroom not only in car or via school bus, but on foot.
This is a great time for all drivers to take a step back and re-evaluate whether or not they are using safe and proper driving practices during their very busy morning and afternoon commutes. The increase in drivers on the road and higher volume of pedestrians means an increase in the chances of a collision occurring. This is why all drivers must remain vigilant when it comes to respecting and obeying the rules of the road throughout the school year, especially around designated school zones.
Keeping all of this in mind, we strongly urge you to consider the following tips as you are commuting during the busy back-to-school season.
- Avoid distractions!
Steer clear of anything that could be a distraction while you are driving. And by distraction we are not only referring to mobile devices – we’re talking about loud music, eating at the wheel, putting on make-up while driving, anything that can take your full attention away from the road ahead for even one-second.
- Obey the speed limit, especially in school zones
It’s very tempting to speed up a bit when there are no cars in front of you, but the truth is that you will never know when a pedestrian or cyclist may appear within a split second. Stay focused and always drive according to the speed limit. This is particularly vital in school zones with the high volume of parents, students and teachers rushing to get to class before the morning bell.
- Obey Crossing Guards
Pay attention and follow the commands of Crossing Guards. Their job is to help children and parents get across the street safely in designated school zones with your cooperation.
- Stop for school busses when you see the flashing lights
When you see the red lights flashing on a school bus, that is your cue to stop whether you are driving towards the bus in the opposite lane or behind it. These lights indicate that the school bus is either picking up or dropping off students – which means that there is a good chance that some of these students may need to cross the road they are being let off on to get to school or home.
- Give yourself time
Plan your drive and try to get on the road a little bit earlier to help you avoid traffic during the rush of the morning drop off.
- Drop off your children out of harm’s way
If you’re dropping your child off at school, try to drop them off away from the traffic that tends to build up directly in front of the school. It is safer to drop them off a block away and walk them over to the school grounds than it is to try and combat a steady rush of traffic.
- Avoid U-turns
Avoid making U-turns and 3-point turns in school zones. These are dangerous maneuvers to perform in high traffic areas with large volumes of pedestrians and cannot be predicted by children and even adults.
Now that you have been given a little refresher, please keep in mind that safety on the road is equally the responsibility of everyone using it!