Children tend to be unpredictable by nature, which is a major problem for drivers passing through school zones. The responsibility rests on drivers to be mindful and cautious at all times, but especially in these areas. According to Canada’s Safety Council, September to November tends to be the worst month for younger pedestrians. Consider these tips to drive through a school zone safely:
Lower your speed as you approach a school zone so you have more time to stop should you need to. There is a reason why fines are increased in these areas.
Stop for School Buses
Children are not always aware of road rules and will run in all directions when they get off of the school bus. This is why cars travelling both ways on the road are required to stop when a school bus has its flashing stop sign out. Do not proceed until the lights stop flashing and remain observant for little ones as you drive off.
Don’t Pass Other Vehicles
Never pass another vehicle in a school zone or within a half block of any crosswalk. Doing so in residential areas is dangerous because of the limited space and increased number of pedestrians. Be patient, you will get to where you need to go.
Don’t Drive Distracted
Driving while being on your cellphone has become the new drunk driving and leading cause of road related fatalities. Put away your phone until you get to your destination and set your music before you start your journey.
Avoid U-turns and Three-point Turns
Making a drastic turn can change your surroundings too quickly to react to unexpected variables, especially in tighter roads like in residential and school zones. Children also have a hard time predicting these types of manoeuvers. Avoid changing direction until you are a safe enough distance away from a school zone.
Obey Crossing Guards
Allow them to do their jobs easily by following their directions. Letting them direct traffic and giving them enough time to let children walk across the street keeps everyone safe and traffic flowing smoothly.
Always Check your Blind Spots
Check all of your mirrors and over your shoulder for cyclists and pedestrians when changing lanes and turning. These areas have a higher volume of people just before and right after school, so it is important to be diligent about doing these simple checks when driving during those times.
Drop Kids Off Away from Traffic
Help relieve vehicle congestion by letting your children out a block or two away from their school. As long as there is a safe path, it will be worthwhile for both you and your kids to be away from the chaos that drop offs can entail.
Report Unsafe Driving
If you see reckless or dangerous driving, pull over as soon as it is safe for you to do so and report the incident to the police. Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and doing this could prevent an accident from happening.
All road collisions could be avoidable if everyone were just a little more patient and precautious. Anyone that has been involved in a car accident knows that the effects last a while and can be both physically and financially devastating. Be a part of the solution, not the problem, by consistently adhering to the road rules and safe driving practices.