With kids ready to go back to school there will be more people walking and driving. School buses and bikes will also be more prevalent, so it’s essential for drivers to brush up on tips to keep everyone safe.
Coming off the lazy, hazy days of summer can be a bit of a shock for everyone: kids, parents, and teachers. Adjusting to the new school routine takes its toll on everyone, so more patience and awareness are not only suggested, it’s required!
- Watch for Kids. While this holds true any time of the year, as school is starting up you’re likely to see kids walking in groups and individually, as well as kids getting dropped off across the street from the school and looking to cross. This holds true for both before and after school, so keep your eyes open and be especially aware in school zones.
- Carpool when possible. Every parent knows about that long line of cars at school waiting to drop off their kids. You can do your best to reduce that line by carpooling with neighbors and friends. Take turns being the driver and you’ll get a little break in the morning (or afternoon) and avoid the chaos. Make sure if you are ferrying children in your car to search for car insurance quotes that provide the right coverage for your budget.
- Stay Alert for Bus Lights Flashing. While it might be a little frustrating to get behind a school bus that is making frequent stops, the law requires patience. Never pass a bus especially when it has its lights flashing or the stop sign posted on the left. When you do stop, be sure there is sufficient space (more than 10 feet) for children to safely exit or enter the bus.
- Be Alert for Crossing Guards. There may be several crosswalks with crossing guards for school children, not just one directly in front of the school, especially for city schools. Crossing guards might be adults or older school kids but they all should be wearing reflective vests or gear so they are more easily seen.
- Watch for Cyclists. Generally, when passing a cyclist and you’re both going in the same direction, give them 5’ or so as a cushion. When you are turning right and the bicyclist is coming up from behind you and also turning right, allow them to go first. If you’re turning left and the cyclist is heading in the opposite direction, let them pass in front of you.
- Avoid Distractions. Keep in mind that kids that are walking to school or from school may not be paying attention because they are on their phones. While this isn’t ideal, it’s our modern reality. As the driver, keep yourself free from distraction so you can pay mindful attention to them and the road.
- Drive Slow Around Parked Cars. You never know when a child can dart out into the street from between parked cars. They might be walking to school or offloading from one of the cars. Either way, you will want to continuously scan the parked cars for movement.
- Treat School Zones Properly. Because there is so much activity in a school zone and potentially so many things that can go wrong, always treat school zones appropriately by never passing another vehicle, not making any U-turns, and not changing lanes. Follow the speed limits and be as patient as possible.
- Become Familiar with School Zones on Your Route. The more aware you are of where the school zones are along the route you take every day will help you properly prepare for them. Gradually reducing your speed and allotting extra time when you know the area will be busy, will help you and everyone else stay safe. Remember that traffic patterns might change from year to year, so don’t assume they will always be the same.
- Watch for Bus Stops. There’s a certain time in the morning when kids gather at their bus stops, and it often correlates with the time when most people are going to work. Watch for kids running to the stop and those that might inadvertently step out onto the road.
Back to school can be a crazy but fun time for everyone. Driving during the summer months when school is not in session can feel a bit carefree with so much less traffic on the road. Now is the time to gear up for more traffic congestion and to arm yourself with patience and a little extra time to get to your destination. Do your own studying by searching car insurance quotes that save you money and keep you safely covered.