Yellow school buses, backpacks and children riding bicycles. That’s what’s popping up in neighborhoods everywhere, as students of all ages head back to school. Despite our rushed schedules and potentially distracted driving, it’s more important than ever to slow down and make some changes to your driving habits around schools in the morning and after school.
There are 3 situations to be keenly aware of to keep students safe:
- Drop Off Times
Be aware of drop off times at schools on your morning commute. Children will be riding bikes, busses will be stopping in neighborhoods and parents dropping off students may be rushing children to school. This combination opens drivers up to a host of potential hazards, if they aren’t conscientious about driving habits.
- Sharing the Road with Children
Children will be walking and riding bikes to school. And while parents teach children to look both ways and be aware of approaching cars, young children are vulnerable because they are unaware of the behaviors of drivers. Children take unnecessary risks and drivers should be prepared for that. Additionally, drivers who illegally pass a stopped bus can result in children being struck by a car.
- Bicycle Basics
Generally speaking, bicyclists adhere to the same rules as cars. But, with children they are often unaware of the rules of the road and are also smaller and more difficult to see. To keep young bicyclists safe, keep a safe distance between your car and the child riding the bike. Look for bike riders turning in front of you. Check your side mirrors and look for bicyclists darting across the street.
Here are some final tips from the National Safety Council:
- In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.
- Always stop for a crossing guard holding up a stop sign.
- Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas
- Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
With a little bit of concern and caution as students head back to school, you can help keep everyone safe in school zones.