You’ve probably noticed the extra congestion on the roads as Labor Day marked the unofficial start of school for students across the nation.
As class begins for more than 50 million children, increased vehicles on the road and pedestrian foot traffic on sidewalks boosts the odds of potential school zone accidents. Drivers not only need to focus on the road ahead but also the surrounding areas during school hours when unpredictable children are most present - darting across the street and jumping into buses and cars.
To avoid getting into a school zone accident, follow these six school zone safety driving tips:1. Never pass a bus from behind
It should be a given since it’s illegal in all 50 states but never pass a stopped school bus loading and unloading children when the stop sign is extended and its lights are flashing.
Children who lose their lives in bus-related accidents are most often hit by motorist illegally passing a stopped bus or by being hit by the bus itself, according to research conducted by the National Safety Council.2. Don’t block crosswalks
When at a stop sign or traffic light be sure to stop at the marked white line on the road before the crosswalk. When vehilces stop in the crosswalk, it causes pedestrians to go around the vehicle putting them in the path of moving traffic.3. Yield when flashing
Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) are one of the most popular school zone safety solutions communities have been installing at high-risk intersections.
Pedestrians always have the right-of-way but sometimes drivers don’t see them. When the system is flashing, a pedestrian is actively crossing the road and drivers are required to yield.4. Respect the crossing guard
Crossing guards are placed at intersections where children are most at risk. Crossing guards protect every pedestrian using a crosswalk, but only if drivers respect the guard’s authority and stop when they're directing traffic.
Remember, a crossing guard is always the first person on the street and last person off. If a guard is still in the road, assume pedestrians are crossing.5. Reduce your speed
We’ve all seen the school zone speed limit signs, but how many drivers actually reduce their speed when traveling through a school zone? Answer: not many.
Always assume there are children present during school hours and obey the posted reduced speed limit signs. Most states impose heavy fines for speeding within school zones.6. Don’t drive distracted
Most people drive distracted – just check out this Safe Travels blog post.
When entering a school zone, rid yourself of all distractions. Children are notoriously unpredictable and a moment’s delay in reaction time can be the difference between an a near-miss or a deadly collision.
Follow these six school zone safety driving tips to increase pedestrian safety in your community.
But, if there is a high-incident intersection in your community's school zone that needs extra attention - browse our line of school zone safety solutions.