Back to School
As the new school year gets underway, roadway conditions change:
School buses start rolling, students populate crosswalks, and teen drivers start to get behind the wheel and move on their own. Staying aware during this time can help keep back to school season safe for everyone.
Follow these tips to do your part:
Follow School Drop-Off and Pick-Up Rules
Schools and their surrounding areas are the locations where the most children end up hit by cars. You should be careful if you’re responsible for dropping off children. When in school zones, don’t load or unload children across the street from school, and don’t double park. If possible, carpool to reduce the number of vehicles in the area.
Your school will likely have specific drop-off and pick-up procedures designed with everyone’s safety in mind. You should always follow those rules.
Obey School Zone Speed Limits
While reducing your speed for a school zone can feel like a hassle, it does help reduce the chance of, and impact of, accidents. Slower speeds mean you have more reaction time and can bring your vehicle to a stop much faster. A vehicle that hits a pedestrian while traveling at 25 mph is two-thirds less likely to cause a fatality than a vehicle going 35 mph – not to mention higher speeds. Remember that any speed infraction committed in a school zone doubles the fine that can be accessed.
Teach Teens Safe Driving Habits
Driving brings much freedom, and the school year signals the time for high school and university students alike to be behind the wheel on their own in increased frequency. Teaching safe driving habits and setting up a driving contract encourage good habits that will last far beyond their school days. Getting teens to sign up for safe driving courses can also reduce your auto insurance. For more statistics, see this infographic about teen drivers.
Drive Safely Near School Buses
In all 50 states, it is illegal to pass a school bus that has stopped to load or unload children. Traffic must stop when a bus’s yellow or red lights are flashing, and the stop arm is out. You should allow a greater following distance between you and a school bus than you would if you were following another car and give at least 10 feet between you and the bus when it has stopped. Did you know in Kansas, improper passing of a school bus can land you a fine of $315 PLUS another $108 docket fee, that’s $423!
Keep an Eye Out for Children
Children don’t always think their actions through and can sometimes run into the road without warning. Stay alert whenever passing by children, whether they are walking or biking, and always look out when driving near school zones and other areas kids may gather, such as playgrounds. Follow proper signals at crosswalks as well, and stop if a pedestrian crosses your path, even if you have the right of way.
When everyone does their part, everyone stays safe.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever” ~ Mahatma Ghandi
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