Back To School Driving Basics
Fall is just around the corner and schools everywhere will be back in session soon. Along with bustling playgrounds will come more children in the crosswalks and additional school busses on the roads. With this in mind, it's a fine time to tune up on a few back to school tips:
Watch for Kids in the Crosswalks
A wise person once said "Dot your i's, cross your t's, and make complete stops." With more kids out on sidewalks and crosswalks, be sure to make safe, complete stops when required, including at red-lights before turning right. Also, keep your head on a swivel; just when you think it's safe, kids tend to pop out of nowhere and run across the street when you least expect it.
School Zone is a Slow Zone
When entering a school zone have your foot over the brake and your eyes on patrol. When kids are present, school zones require you to slow down to at least 25mph, regardless of time of day or the day of week. If it's a Saturday at 8pm and you're in a school zone when children are present (maybe there is a dance or sporting event), you are still required to slow down.
Besides obeying the law; when you slow down for children or pedestrians, you are actually helping other drivers who may not see the pedestrians. When they notice you slow down, their instinct will be to also slow down and check out what potential obstacles are ahead.
Respect the School Bus
Those big yellow things filled with a "bus load" of kids? They are called school busses and there are special laws designed to make sure they get from point A to point B safely. Did you know that more students are killed while getting on or off a school bus each year than are killed as passengers inside a school bus? When a school bus stops with its red light flashing and/or its stop-sign extended, you must stop from either direction until the children are safely across the street and the lights stop flashing (unless the bus is on the other side of a divided or multilane highway).
Also, don't tailgate a bus as they often make sudden stops when least expected. Finally, when a school bus is trying to merge back into traffic, you must give them the right of way.
A Few Other Miscellaneous Things to Consider
At high schools, keep in mind that a disproportionate amount of the drivers are newly licensed teen drivers who may not have as much driving savvy as you.
For parents driving kids to school always make sure your u-turns are safe and legal after you drop off little Johnny.
If nothing else, all we ask is that you be courteous and respectful, have patience and take your time and exercise clear judgment around school zones. Parents and children everywhere thank you for it!
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