Back to School Safety Tips for Drivers
By: Good2GoPublished: September 21, 2016
The crisp feeling in the air and the sight of multicolored leaves are often the first signs fall is around the corner. While fall means oversized sweaters and seasonal flavors for some, kids across the nation recognize fall as the time they once again must head back to the classroom. For many, it means that our morning commutes will be slowed down by those big, oversized taxis we know as school buses. It can be frustrating having to stop behind a school bus while children scramble for their backpacks and find their seat, but this is one time when it’s most important for drivers to be patient. Here are a few safety tips to help make driving during the school year a little less painful.
Stop for School Buses
It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that’s stopped to load or unload children. Specific regulations vary for each state but the general rules remain the same. Always be aware of the presence of school buses, particularly in the morning and early afternoon. When the bus’s lights are flashing, make sure you are stopped at least 10 feet away the bus from either direction. Some states require you to stop 25 feet away. Kids will often run either behind or in front of the bus, so make sure there is enough space for them to get through safely.
Pay Attention to School Zones
A school zone is an area located around a school where speed limits are usually reduced between 5 to 10 miles per hour, and if you fail to obey the speed limits you’ll find the traffic fines are increased. In other words, slow down and pay attention or else you’ll be getting a hefty fine. Or worse, you could injure someone. Stay alert and drive at a speed where you could come to a sudden stop, if needed.
Follow Drop-Off Procedures
A lot of schools will provide specific directions for dropping children off. There are a few precautions you can take to remain safe while you’re dropping a child off at school. Avoid double parking since it can block visibility for children or other vehicles. Unload children as close to the school as possible, and prevent them from having to cross any busy streets. Carpool as often as you can, especially if there are other families within your neighborhood making the same trip. It will help lighten traffic in the school’s parking lot.
Share the Road with Bicyclists
Sharing is one of the very first skills children learn in school. And if they can do it, then so can we. A lot of children ride a bike to school in lieu of taking the school bus or walking. Although bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, kids aren’t aware of the many rules drivers follow. Always take caution when driving near a person on a bike, especially if you are making a left turn. Keep a safe distance between yourself and the bicyclist.
Always Yield to Pedestrians
Even if you don’t have kids of your own, you probably know that unpredictability is secondhand nature to them. Similar to encountering a wild animal in the woods, it’s good to take caution before you fully understand the situation. That’s why you should always stop for a pedestrian while you are driving. Regardless of whether or not they are using a crosswalk, adults and children have both been known to cross at their own leisure without looking both ways.
If you are a parent, it’s important to teach your children how they can get to school safely. If you plan to drive them to school, make sure you practice safe defensive driving skills like following the speed limit, coming to a complete stop at stop signs, and yielding for pedestrians. If your kids will be walking to school, show them the safest route to get there and how to safely cross streets.
Going back to school can be an exciting but dangerous time for parents and children alike. The unfortunate reality is that accidents can happen to anyone at any time. Luckily, Good2Go provides affordable auto insurance coverage that can help protect you and your family. For your free, no obligation quote visit Good2Go Auto Insurance.