School is back in session for many this month. The inevitable return to classes means that an increase in safety is needed. We will be sharing a few blogs about back to school safety.
With the end of the dog days of summer, family vacations and summer camps are over and the beginning of another school year is upon us. More than 50 million children will soon be heading back to school. That means increased traffic and congestion as kids and parents hurry off to school every morning. Being prepared and taking a few extra precautions as a driver can help improve safety.
- Ditch the distractions. Children can be quick — whether it’s crossing the street, darting out to pick up something they’ve dropped or emerging from between parked cars. Drivers need to focus on driving —shut off your cell phone, use the “do not disturb” feature on your mobile device or toss it in the back seat so you’re not tempted to check it.
- Slow down and allow extra time.
- Seat belts save lives. Always remember to buckle up.
- Don't block the crosswalk. This forces pedestrians to go around you and could put them in the path of moving traffic.
- Always stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.
- Watch for school crossing guards and obey their signals.
- Watch for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks and in all residential areas.
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
Share the road with teen drivers.
A new school year means newly-licensed teen drivers will be navigating traffic, drop off areas and parking lots, which can mean a potential for more incidents. According to the National Safety Council, teen crashes spike in September and happen more commonly in the mornings and afternoons, when school begins and ends. Drivers need to keep these tips in mind:
- When dropping off your kids at school, be on high alert for new teen drivers.
- Keep in mind that new drivers may not have the skills that come from experience, such as gauging gaps in traffic, reading the general flow of traffic on roads and having situational awareness while driving in congested areas.
- Give teen drivers the space they need as they learn to navigate traffic, drop-off/pick-up procedures and parking lots.
Know your school’s drop-off procedure
- Be familiar with your school’s drop-off procedures and keep the following tips in mind:
- Don't double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles.
- Don't load or unload children across the street from the school.
Share the road with school buses
According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are four to seven years old, and they're walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. A few precautions go a long way toward keeping children safe around buses:
- Never pass a bus if it is stopped to load or unload children.
- If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop.
- The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus.
- Be alert; children often are unpredictable and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks.
Share the road with bicyclists
Children on bikes may not be able to properly determine traffic conditions and safety. Use care when sharing the road with bicyclists.
- When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave three feet between your car and the bicyclist.
- When turning left with a bicyclist approaching from the opposite direction, wait for the bicyclist to pass.
- If you're turning right and a bicyclist is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, then proceed with the turn.