FIVE WAYS TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE TO AND FROM SCHOOL:
Now that children are returning to school we all have a responsibility to be more watchful on the roads and near school zones. This is particularly important at times of day when children are more likely to be outside of the school — including when school begins, lunchtime and after school.
Studies report that pedestrian injury is the third highest cause of injury related death among children. Driving defensively and observing the rules helps keep everyone safe and sound.
1. Always stop for a school bus when the lights are ﬂashing. Children have a limited sense of danger and are often excited and energetic when getting on or off a school bus. Watch out for children who may dart out from between stopped school buses or parked cars. Don’t obstruct a school bus loading zones and be patient as children get on and off the bus. Motorists travelling in both directions are required to stop for a school bus when its lights are ﬂashing and the stop arm is out. Failing to stop for a school bus is a violation of state law and a serious trafﬁc violation with substantial ﬁnes and penalties.
2. Observe the posted speed limits. it’s important to slow down as you approach a school zone and watch for children who may run out into harm’s way. Posted speed limits in school zones are typically reduced and travelling at a slower speed gives drivers time to stop safely in case there are children crossing the road unexpectedly. Playground zones have the same speed limits and are in effect from dawn until dusk each day. Children may be out and about at various times throughout the day for recess, lunch time or ﬁeld trips so you need to be careful when driving in school zones. Respect your school’s posted pick up and drop off areas to avoid creating unnecessary trafﬁc congestion and unsafe conditions. This includes respecting “No Parking” and “No Stopping” zones.
3. Obey the crossing guard at all times. Whether you think they are right or not, obey crossing guards at all times. Children expect that crossing guards will only allow them to cross if the situation is safe, so disregarding a crossing guard’s instructions can have serious consequences.
4. Do not pass other vehicles in a school zone. This is a dangerous practice that is prohibited in school zones. When passing other vehicles, you may be travelling quickly and your overall visibility is reduced. Children crossing the street won’t expect you to be passing and won’t be prepared for your car being in a different lane than usual. Similarly, you should not perform a U—turn or 3 point turn, or even driving in reverse in a school zone if you can avoid it. Any sort of unpredictable driving manoeuvre may catch children off guard and cause or contribute to an accident.
5. Expect the unexpected. Children are unpredictable and can run out into trafﬁc at any time. Watch carefully as you approach a school zone and be prepared for children to step on to the road unexpectedly. Although there has been a steady decrease in the number of tragedies each year, it’ s important to remember that “one death is one too many.”
HELP KEEP KIDS SAFE!