The Christmas spirit has already faded away, and it’s been replaced by the day-to-day life that we’re used to. The holidays have come and gone just as fast as they do every year, but it just means that now we can look forward to this year’s holidays! However, they are pretty far away. First and foremost, it’s time for our kids to go back to school (yeah, we know…). For us drivers, that means that we must also pay extra attention while in school areas, and around school buses. To make sure you’re ready again for extra traffic and pedestrians, we’ve prepared some essential back to school driving tips.
Always Be On The Lookout
When driving around a school area, keep in mind that children or teens might be walking to and from places all the time. This is especially true if it’s the early morning or the afternoon, when school is starting or ending for the day. If you’re in a neighborhood that also has a primary school, consider that young children might not pay that much attention to traffic rules. They could even run into the open road for a variety of reasons, so your eyes sharp in order to avoid potential dangers.
Among all the possible road safety tips we could pass on here, the first and most important is definitely: slow down. We get it, you’re in a rush. Modern life requires us to be fast paced and all over the place at once, but you want to get there safe and sound, without any accidents. Moreover, you don’t want to negatively affect other people either, so if you can’t see the sides of a crosswalk completely, or your vision is impaired by auto glass damage, you can drive under the posted speed.
Aside from respecting every traffic rule and speed limit, note that certain schools tend to utilize traffic cops, crossing guards, and/or safety patrols as well. Always defer to their instructions, as they are present to make sure everything goes smoothly and without accident. Stop at their express indications, and only continue driving once all students are safe on the sidewalk, and school buses are permitted onto the road.
In addition to keeping your speed down and obeying traffic laws vehemently, one thing that’s guaranteed to help you stay safe is to not divide your focus. Focus on driving itself when in an school area, and nothing else. Don’t change the radio channels, don’t take sips out of your drink, and definitely, definitely, do not check your phone. Don’t talk on it, don’t browse the internet, just don’t have it in your hand overall. It really just takes one second of being distracted for a tragedy to occur. As a final note here, don’t solely rely on you being able to do a last minute break in case of anything. Depending on road conditions, your vehicle might not stop instantaneously, or it could even start skidding.
Pay Attention To School Buses
If there’s any doubt if school has started yet or not, the characteristic yellow buses are certainly the ones to waive all doubt away. When on the road, keep in mind that driving around these buses carries its own set of rules:
- Firstly, drive slowly and never try to pass the bus if the overhead lights are flashing;
- Secondly, prepare to stop when the overhead lights are flashing yellow;
- Thirdly, if there’s a red light flashing, you must stop, whether you’re in the front of, or behind the bus — no exceptions;
- Lastly, don’t resume driving until all the children that get off the bus are safely off the road, and a reasonable distance away from it.
Dropping-Off And Picking-Up Your Children From School
When bringing your child to school, remember not to double park when letting them out. Yes, you’re there just for a few seconds, but you’re blocking visibility for both other drivers, as well as students exiting the building. Likewise, drop them off straight in front of the school, so they don’t have to cross between incoming traffic to get to the school.
If there’s an established traffic pattern, stick to it. If there isn’t one, why not come together with other parents and suggest it? It’s a universally good idea for increased safety!
Before it’s time for school to start again, it might be a good idea to have a chat with your children about some road safety tips if they’re still young. Remind them not to misbehave on the bus and to listen to instructions when exiting, check both sides of the road before crossing, listen to police officers, and so on. This way, they’ll remain safe & sound, and the roads will be safer as a side result as well!
The back to school driving readjustment can be a little rough around the edges with all the extra automobile and pedestrian traffic. However, you’re sure to get the hang of being ever watchful again in no time!