Even if you’re not a parent, the back-to-school time of year means certain traffic rules are implemented and must be followed by all drivers. Irresponsible driving in a school zone or near a school bus can lead to injuries or a damaged vehicle. As students head back to the classroom, drivers should remember to use common sense and follow traffic laws.
Here are some essential safety tips when driving near a school or school bus:
Stop for school buses
Drivers should always stop when a school bus is loading or unloading passengers. School buses often indicate this with flashing lights and a stop sign extended from the side of the bus. It’s illegal to pass a school bus during these conditions, regardless of which direction you are heading. Vehicles should stop far away enough for children to safely enter or exit the bus.
Teach bus and pedestrian safety to children
Children may benefit from a refresher on how to stay safe while walking to and from school. This can also include how to safely ride the school bus. Some of these tips include:
- Stay on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, face the direction of traffic
- Always cross the street at crosswalks or intersections
- Listen to the crossing guard and bus drivers
- Don’t accept rides from strangers
- Wait for the bus to make a complete stop before boarding the bus
- Look left-right-left for cars before crossing the street
Take the time to ensure students know how to stay safe. It can go a long way in protecting them from accidents.
Remember school zone rules
School zones often have different traffic rules during hours when students arrive at or leave school. Drivers should be more aware of traffic and pedestrians while passing through a school zone to ensure everyone’s safety. Some tips include:
- Obey the crossing guard: Crossing guards are responsible for directing traffic and helping children cross the street. Ignoring or not paying attention to the crossing guard can result in serious accidents.
- Follow the speed limit: School zones often have a reduced speed limit while children are starting or leaving school. Pay attention to these speed limits and any children in the area. A slower speed limit gives drivers more time to react if a child runs out on the road. This also means drivers should avoid passing vehicles, since speeding up to pass can cause more dangerous road conditions.
- Follow drop-off and pick-up procedures: Many schools have specific rules to control traffic and keep students safe. It’s essential to learn these procedures and follow them.
School zones provide extra precautions to ensure drivers and pedestrians can safely travel on the same roads.
Avoiding accidents is the number one priority for drivers. Slowing down and being careful around school zones and buses can help drivers avoid the physical and emotional consequences of an accident.
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