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Back-to-School Driving Tips

Aug 1, 2018

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It’s that time of the year again.

As summer vacations wrap up and families prepare for back-to-school, the rest of us are mapping-out alternative routes to beat the school traffic.

School days inevitably bring congestion as fleets of big yellow school buses make their rounds, kids on bikes are hurry to get to school, and busy parents rush to drop their kids off before work.

With this in mind, it’s a great opportunity for drivers to brush up on a couple of back to school driving tips:

Always Yield to School Buses.

Did you know that more bus passengers are injured while loading & unloading each year than are injured while traveling inside a school bus?

Children are often excited and energetic when getting on or off a school bus. For this reason, motorists traveling in both directions are required by law to stop for a school bus when its lights are flashing and the stop arm is out. In addition to being patient as children get on and off the bus, drivers should not obstruct school bus loading and unloading zones. Lastly, when the school bus is trying to merge back into traffic, give the bus the right of way.

Give Yourself Enough Time.

Back-to-school time can be a hectic time for families; with new routines, new schedules and even new young drivers. However, keeping pedestrians, other drivers, and bicyclist safe is the responsibility of us all. If you become stressed, take a deep breath and pull over. It’s better to arrive late than to injure yourself or someone else. Allow yourself extra time in the morning to get where you need if you feel your drive is too tense.

No matter how late or frazzled you become, it is important to remain alert while driving and adhere to specific laws and rules relating to pedestrians, buses, bicycles, and school zones. Families everywhere will thank you for it.

Observe School Zone Speed Limits & Parking Zones.

Slow down as you approach a school zone and watch for children who may dart out into the road way. Slower speed limits in a school zones give drivers more time to safely stop in case children are crossing the road unexpectedly.

Remember, children may be out and about at various times throughout the day for recess, lunch time or field trips— so, drivers need to be careful whenever driving in school zones.

Respect your school’s posted pick up/drop off areas and no parking/no stopping zones to avoid creating unnecessary traffic congestion and unsafe conditions.

Always Obey the Crossing Guard. Always.

Whether or not you think they are right, obey crossing guards at all times.That crossing guard is responsible for helping children cross their intersection safely. If you’re asked to stop, do it. The crossing guard may see something, or someone, that you don’t.

Don’t Pass in School Zones.

Passing is prohibited in school zones— and for good reason.

When passing other vehicles, you may be traveling 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 to be in a different lane. Similarly, you should not perform a U-turn or 3 point turn, or even drive in reverse. Any sort of unpredictable driving maneuver may catch children off guard and cause or contribute to an accident.

Watch Out for Bicyclists. 

Always leave 3 feet between you and a bicyclist when passing, and wait for approaching bicyclists to pass before turning or driving through an intersection.

Children often forget to look or signal when turning on their bicycles, so you must be attentive when driving near bicyclists, especially in school zones and residential areas.

Teach your Children Traffic Safety.

You are the first line of defense when it comes to your child’s safety. Be sure to sit them down and help them understand the dangers involved and how to avoid them.

In general, children should stay well away from any streets and the school parking lot while they are at school.

Before crossing, teach them to look left, then right and then left again. They should cross the street only at designated cross walks or under the supervision of a crossing guard or trusted adult.

Make Sure They Ride Safe.

Student bus riders should line up for the school bus at least 5 steps back from the road in a single file line to wait for the bus and remain there until the bus has come to a complete stop and the doors are open before moving forward.

While on the school bus, they should remain seated at all times and refrain from distracting conduct, such as throwing things or yelling. Teach them to respect the school bus driver. When dismounting the bus, children should always walk (rather than run) and be careful if they need to cross the street. They should never cross between parked cars.

Practice what you preach!

Be a good role model for your children by following the same rules that you would like them to follow. Practicing what you preach helps to reinforce the importance of safety rules in your child’s mind.

Make Sure your Student Driver is Covered.

Part of keeping your student driver safe on the road is making sure he/she has the appropriate auto insurance coverage. Your independent insurance agent can help you find the right coverage for your student driver and answer any questions you have about the insurance.

Expect the unexpected.

A good rule of thumb in school zones is to expect the unexpected.

Children are unpredictable and can run out into traffic at any time. Watch carefully as you approach a school zone, keep your foot over the brake pedal in anticipation of needing to brake, and be patient.

 

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