Back-to-School: Driving and Pedestrian Tips

As summer draws to a close, back-to-school season is in full effect. It is time for us to gear up and implement the safety and extra caution needed to protect our students. I believe the tips below are good refreshers for us and our school age children.

According to a report by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, autumn is the most dangerous time of year for pedestrians, with 29 percent of pedestrian-related fatalities occurring. In their article they included tips to help keep you, and your kids, safer as they head back to school. Whether you are a new or long-term driver, use these tips to set the example for others on the road.

  1. Respect the big yellow bus. Imagine being in a large car with 4- noisy students. Could be pretty stressful. Do your part and make the bus drivers’ lives easier. Yield when they are attempting to merge, and maintain a significant distance behind them, as they often make unexpected stops. Make sure children know to walk in front of – never in back of- buses. Review the safety guidelines with your children if they ride a bus to and from school. Remember in all 50 states that is a law making it illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
  2. Get in the zone. Abide by the speed limits and be more cautious when driving in school zones. When dropping kids off, remember that curbs are reserved for buses and emergency vehicles so you should not loiter. If you need a few extra minutes during the drop-off, turn on your hazard lights. In a school zone when a warning flasher or flashers are blinking, you must stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or intersection with no marked crosswalks.
  3. Walk better. Drivers aren’t the only ones who need to obey the rules of the road. A major driving pet peeve is pedestrians who jaywalk, cross at a red light, or text while walking.

Let us remember as drivers while driving in neighborhoods, or school zones, watch for young people who may be in a hurry to get to school and may not be thinking about getting there safely.