Keeping our school zones safe

Post By Corey Heit

School is back in full swing. With it comes a number of changes from the summer, but whether you have kids or not, it’s important to be safe in school zones and around school related traffic. It’s no surprise that pedestrian collisions are much higher during the school year than not, so take note of a few best practices to increase safety and try to avoid a preventable car accident.

Give buses extra space

If you’ve ever driven with kids in the car, you know how distracting they can be. Now imagine a bus full of energetic kids. Give buses extra space on the road to help the drivers cope with their unique challenges. Buses are also one of the places where children are most likely to be struck by a car. The 10-foot radius around the bus is the most dangerous zone, so give them plenty of space. Also, be sure never to pass a bus that is stopped to load or unload passengers. While this is obviously dangerous, it is also illegal in every state. Finally, letting the bus pull ahead after stopping gives you a chance to gain an unobstructed view of the area, this makes it easier to observe any kids who may dart into the road.

Practice being a safe pedestrian

Whether you walk your kids to school or you want to teach them safe practices, there are a few good rules to remember. First and foremost, avoid jaywalking. Drivers are more likely to see pedestrians while in crosswalks, but if you catch them off guard and cross where they might not see you, tragedy can strike. A few other tips that are especially important to kids are to never assume a car will stop, always enter the road slowly to let cars see you and cross quickly once you are in the intersection. Be particularly vigilant during rush hour, when commuting drivers can be distracted can help avoid unnecessary accidents as well.

Stay observant driving in school zones

These zones are marked with lower speeds for a reason. You can expect dense foot traffic, more bicycles and an influx of teenage drivers. Even if a school does not serve driving age kids, they may be dropping off youngsters on their own way to school. Obeying the reduced speeds and signage is a good place to start, but it isn’t enough. Being vigilant of rambunctious pedestrians, unpredictable bicycles and impatient drivers is always important. What many drivers often overlook is how important it is to note school zones outside of typical hours. Remember that extracurricular activities still bring kids to the school when the lights aren’t flashing, so always be aware. Finally, make note of bus stops. They may not always be marked well, but they’re a sure place to have kids on foot.

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