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Back-to-School Safety Tips: School Zones

As summer comes to an end and the school bells start ringing once again, it’s crucial for drivers to refresh their knowledge about school zone safety. The return of students to their educational institutions means an increase in pedestrian and vehicular traffic around schools. To ensure the safety of students, parents, and drivers alike, here are some important back-to-school safety tips for navigating school zones:

1. Obey Speed Limits:

School zones have reduced speed limits for a reason. Children can be unpredictable, and a slower speed gives you more time to react if a child dashes into the street unexpectedly. Pay attention to the posted speed limits and adhere to them at all times, even if you’re running late.

2. Come to Complete Stops:

Always come to a full stop at stop signs or crosswalks. Rolling through stops can put pedestrians, especially young students, at risk. Take the extra moment to ensure the area is clear before proceeding.

3. Avoid Distractions:

Distracted driving is dangerous in any context, but it’s especially risky in school zones. Put away your phone and any other distractions that might take your attention off the road. Stay focused on the surroundings and be prepared to react to unexpected situations.

4. Yield to Pedestrians:

Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks, whether they’re marked or unmarked. Always yield to pedestrians waiting to cross the street. Make eye contact if possible to ensure they see you and are aware of your intentions.

5. Watch for Crossing Guards:

Crossing guards play a vital role in helping students cross the street safely. Follow their instructions without hesitation and be patient as they guide pedestrians across the road. 

6. Be Cautious in School Zones, Even Outside School Hours:

Remember that school zones might have extended hours beyond regular school start and end times. Some schools have after-school programs or evening events, so always exercise caution when driving near schools.

7. Look for Bicycle Riders:

Many students ride bicycles to school. Be extra cautious around bike lanes and ensure a safe distance when passing cyclists. Look for bikes before opening your car door to prevent accidents.

8. Teach Your Kids About Road Safety:

If you have school-aged children, take the time to educate them about road safety. Teach them how to use crosswalks, look both ways before crossing, and make eye contact with drivers before stepping into the street.

9. Plan Ahead:

Give yourself extra time during the school rush hours. Being in a hurry can lead to reckless driving and risky maneuvers. Planning ahead can help reduce stress and promote safer driving practices.

As students head back to school, it’s the responsibility of every driver to prioritize safety in and around school zones. By following these tips and remaining vigilant, we can create a safer environment for everyone. Let’s make this school year a safe and successful one on the roads!