It’s back to school time – and that means more cars, pedestrians, and bicycles on the road. School buses are making their rounds, parents are rushing to drop off their children and get to work, and kids are rushing to meet their friends. This time of year, it’s so important for drivers to be on high alert, especially around school zones.
Drop Off and Pick Up
According to the National Center for Safe Routes to School, more children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location. While schools and parents are working hard to make drop-off and loading zones safer for kids, drivers must slow down and pay close attention to traffic conditions.
- Carpooling or ride-sharing can help to reduce traffic congestion
- If possible, try to drop off your child on the same side of the street as the school to keep kids out of traffic
- Learn the school’s rules for drop-off areas and obey them
Children are unpredictable! Even if kids know the rules of the road, it’s easy for them to become distracted when surrounded by their friends on the way to school. You can help to make the roads safer for our kids on their way to school by following a few simple rules.
- Always yield to pedestrians – even if you have the right of way
- Always stop for crossing guards
- Never block a crosswalk when stopped in an intersection: if children have to walk around your car, they may veer in to traffic
- Never pass a vehicle that it stopped for pedestrians
While bicycles have the same responsibilities as vehicles, it’s important to remember that kids are not always fully aware of what those responsibilities might be.
- Watch your mirrors! Bicyclists are hard to see.
- When passing a bicycle, approach slowly and allow at least a 3 foot buffer zone between your vehicle and the bicycle
- When at an intersection, always allow and approaching bicycle to pass before turning right or left.
- Drive slowly in residential areas where bicycles may enter the road from driveways or behind parked cars
- Do not open your door without checking mirrors
More and more kids are riding the bus to school, and the routes have many stops in town and in rural areas. Be aware of the traffic rules regarding school buses!
- Never pass a bus stopped to load or unload children and lights flashing – from either direction. This applies equally to roads with a paved center lane! If there is an unpaved median or barrier, traffic approaching from the opposite direction is not required to stop, but should slow and use caution.
- Traffic on both sides of the road must stay stopped until the road is clear of kids and the bus arm is withdrawn
- Allow at least 10 feet of space around bus
We can all work together to keep roads safe for our kids!