Back-to-school time is right around the corner, and we all know life gets more hectic at this time of the year. We trade in the lazy summer days for days packed with school, work, clubs, sports, and all kinds of craziness. We have to be in ten places at once and there never seem to be enough hours in the day. In all the insanity, it’s easy to lose our focus on the road. Check out a few driving safety tips to keep in mind when getting back into that school year schedule:
1. Keep your eyes open for pedestrians. During the school year, there is a significant increase in foot traffic. Pay close attention to pedestrians, especially young children–kids don’t always check both ways before crossing the street. Keep an eye out for crossing guards trying to stop traffic for pedestrians, and never stop in a crosswalk. If you are stopped in the crosswalk, this means children have to walk around your car and into traffic just to get by.
2. Share the road with buses. Although it can be irritating to be stuck behind a school bus when you are late for work, it is important to drive safely and follow rules when behind a bus. Never pass a school bus, especially when the bus is stopped to pick up or drop off children. When a school bus begins to flash yellow or red lights and extend the stop arm, traffic must stop. Stop at least 10 feet behind the school bus to allow children to enter and exit safely. Driving near a school bus requires extra attention, as children are unpredictable and may unwittingly put themselves in danger.
3. Watch out for bicyclists. In addition to increased foot traffic, many children ride bikes to school. Always leave 3 feet between you and a bicyclist when passing, and wait for approaching bicyclists to pass before turning or driving through an intersection. Children often forget to look or signal when turning on their bicycles, so you must be attentive when driving near bicyclists, especially in school zones and residential areas.
4. Follow school drop-off procedures. Every school has their own unique drop-off procedure, and these procedures were developed to keep students safe while maintaining a steady flow of traffic. Even if you are in a rush, it is imperative that you follow your school’s specific procedures. Don’t double park, don’t try to drive around the drop-off line, and don’t drive the wrong way in the parking lot. If school drop-off is often rushed and difficult for you, think about carpooling to cut down on the days you spend in the drop-off line.
5. Be aware of school zones. School zones have reduced speed limits in place for everyone’s safety. Become familiar with the school zones in your area and abide by the speed limits. As we have mentioned earlier, children are not always careful when crossing streets and may step out in front of traffic. If you are following the posted speed limits, you will have time to stop before any accident occurs.
We all understand how hectic life gets when the school year starts up after a long summer. No matter how late or frazzled you become, it is important to remain alert while driving and adhere to specific laws and rules relating to pedestrians, buses, bicycles, and school zones. Please feel free to contact us for more driving safety tips.