Back to School Road Safety

backtoschool

As the school season begins for families across the country, we can expect more congestion on the roads. With the addition of yellow school buses, kids on bicycles and parents dropping off their children before work, it is imperative that drivers take more precaution.  Here are some important driver safety tips from the National Safety Council.

Share the road with all pedestrians and be wary of young pedestrians.

According to The National Safety Council, children between 4 to 7 years of age are at the highest risk for accidents.  Young pedestrians are struck in many ways – while running across roads, motorists illegally passing stopped buses, vehicles backing up without proper observation, etc.

-Use extreme caution while on the road to avoid accidents with pedestrians regardless of who has the right of way. Do not pass vehicles that have stopped for pedestrians.

-Stop for crossing guards and yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections.  Do not block the crosswalks. This can force pedestrians to go around vehicles which in turn, may put them in the path of oncoming traffic.

Share the road with school buses.

-If the yellow or red lights are flashing and arm is extended on a school bus, traffic must stop so the bus may load and unload children.  Do not pass a bus from either direction if you’re on an undivided road.

-Keep a safe distance from school buses.  The area of 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children so, give them more than adequate space.  Be alert as children can be unpredictable and tend to take risks.

Share the road with bicyclists.

On most roadways, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles. According to the National Safety Council, the most common cause of collision is a driver taking a left in front of a bicyclist.  Children on bikes tend to pose problems for drivers usually because they can be difficult to see or they lack the experience to make better judgment calls during unpredictable traffic conditions.

-Watch out for bicyclists coming in all directions, behind you, in front of you, from driveways, and from behind parked cars. Also, check your mirrors before opening your doors.  Be especially vigilant in school zones, parks and residential neighborhoods.

-Please keep in mind some bike riders will not signal even if they’re turning…especially children. Be prepared for this and leave lots of space to maneuver. When passing a cyclist, leave at least 3 feet of space between your vehicle and the cyclist.

-If you’re turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass.  If you’re turning right and a bicyclist is approaching you from behind (on the right), allow the rider to go through the intersection first.  Always use your turn signals and follow all rules of the road.

Dropping kids off at school:

Make sure you know and understand the procedures for dropping your children off at school.  More children are struck by cars near school zones more than any other location!

-Do not load and unload kids across the street from the school.

-Do not double park in the school zones.  It can block visibility for children as well as other vehicles.

-Carpool as much as possible to reduce the number of vehicles on the road and at the school.

We hope this quick read will be helpful to you and your family during the school season.  Not only is it important for a driver to practice road safety, it is just as imperative that children understand and practice them as well.  We wish you and your family a safe back to school season!!