Millions of U.S. children are starting a new school year and along with the joy and excitement comes traffic congestion.
It's never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially before and after school.
The National Safety Council offers these tips to drivers sharing the road with parents and caregivers dropping off or picking up their kids and school busses loading and unloading students.
If you’re dropping off your children, familiarize yourself with the specific drop off rules of your child’s school. More children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location according to the National Safe Routes to School program. These tips can apply to all school zones:
· No double-parking. It blocks the visibility for other children and drivers.
· Don’t load or unload kids across the street from the school
· Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school.
When you’re sharing the road with young pedestrians, remember these safety tips:
Most likely, you’ll be sharing the road with school busses as well as other cars. A school bus is large, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
Cars and busses aren’t the only vehicles on the road around a school; there are also kids on bikes. On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers. Bikes can be hard to see though, particularly small ones with little riders. Children riding bikes create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.
School zone speed lights will soon be or are already flashing, so you’ll have to retrain your eyes to look for them. By exercising a little extra care and caution, drivers and pedestrians can co-exist safely in school zones.