As the school bells chime and the hallways fill with activity, it’s a sure sign that another academic year has begun. With the return of students to classrooms, roads become busier, and extra caution is required to ensure the safety of everyone on the streets.
Whether you’re a parent, a student, or a commuter, here are some essential driving safety tips to keep in mind now that school is back in session.
1. Slow Down and Obey Speed Limits
With school zones becoming active once again, it’s crucial to adhere to posted speed limits. Reduced speed zones are put in place to give pedestrians, especially children, ample time to cross the road safely. Keep an eye out for flashing school zone signs, and always be prepared to slow down.
2. Stay Alert in School Zones
Pay close attention to your surroundings when passing through school zones. Children might be excitedly crossing the street or walking on the sidewalks, and their actions can be unpredictable. Put away distractions such as your phone and focus solely on the road.
3. Follow School Bus Rules
If you encounter a school bus with flashing red lights and an extended stop sign, it’s a clear indication that children are either getting on or off the bus. In most jurisdictions, you are required to come to a complete stop and wait until the bus starts moving again and the stop sign is retracted. Always exercise patience and caution when sharing the road with school buses.
4. Watch Out for School Crossings
Crosswalks near schools can be particularly busy during drop-off and pick-up times. Yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks and be prepared to stop if someone is crossing. Even if you’re in a hurry, it’s paramount to prioritize safety over convenience.
5. Give Bicyclists Extra Space
Many students ride bicycles to school, especially in fair weather. Give bicyclists a wide berth when passing and remember to check for them before opening car doors. When turning, use extra caution and signal your intentions well in advance to ensure their safety.
6. Carpool and Use Designated Drop-Off Areas
If you’re dropping off students at school, use designated drop-off zones whenever possible. This helps keep traffic flowing smoothly and reduces the risk of accidents. If you’re carpooling with other parents, establish a safe pick-up and drop-off routine to minimize confusion and congestion.
7. Plan for Extra Travel Time
With school back in session, traffic patterns may change, and roads can get congested during peak hours. Leave home a bit earlier than usual to account for potential delays. This not only reduces stress but also allows you to drive more calmly and safely.
8. Educate Young Passengers
If you have young passengers in your vehicle, take the opportunity to educate them about road safety. Emphasize the importance of using seat belts, staying seated while the car is in motion, and looking out for vehicles before crossing the street.
As the new school year unfolds, let’s make road safety a priority. By following these driving safety tips, we can collectively contribute to safer streets and ensure that students arrive at their destinations without incident. Remember, an extra dose of patience and caution goes a long way in keeping our roads safe for everyone.