As students return back to school, it is an important time to review the preventive steps to keep you and everyone safe when driving around school zones. From stopping for crossing guards assisting children walking across busy streets to looking out for buses who are loading and unloading children, it is the responsibility of every driver to slow down and use caution.
Below we have highlighted 7 important safety tips to remember when driving around school zones.
1. Recognize school zones areas. Remember to not block any crosswalks when stopping at a red traffic light or when waiting to make a turn. This will only force pedestrians to go around your vehicle and sometimes will make it difficult and dangerous for pedestrians and other drivers.
2. Reduce your speed when travelling through school zones. Slow down and never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
3. Expect increased traffic in and around school zones. Leave early and expect delays when traveling around school zones especially during drop off and pickup times.
4. Be aware of the unusually high concentration of pedestrian crosswalks in school zones. Stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection. Use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way.
5. Be on the lookout for buses. Never pass a bus from behind or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road when buses stop to load or unload children. Yellow or red lights flashing means bus is slowing down to make a stop. Once STOP arm is extended, all traffic must stop. Be careful to keep at least an area of not less than 20 feet around the school bus, remain stopped as far enough back to allow space for children to safely enter and exit the bus. Children can be unpredictable so be on high alert.
6. Obey crossing guards, traffic officers, and police officers. Always stop for school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign
7. Be aware of severe fines. Failure to stop for the school bus can result in fines between $30-$300 according to Department of Transportation in State of WI. In addition, speeding in school zones can result in double or triple speeding fines because these areas are meant to protect the lives of young children. Slow Down, Be alert, and Take your time to keep you and others safe.
Source: Driving-Tests.org National Safety Council