It’s been a while since kids have been consistently in school, so it’s easy to forget how perilous school zones can be. People are shouting directions at you, there are visual distractions everywhere, and it’s possible at any moment that a child might run out in front of your car. Be prepared for the chaos by brushing up on these driver safety tips for school zones.
Leave Plenty of Time
At certain times of the day, school zones can be packed with all kinds of people who are running late. Students are late to get inside, parents are late to work, and backed-up traffic causes more delays. If you allow at least 20 more minutes to get through a school zone, you are more likely to react calmly to any surprises.
The speed limits in school zones can be as low as 10 miles per hour, and for good reason. It may be impossible to prevent all accidents, but at least you can minimize any damage with slow motion. Even if the school zone looks empty, proceed with extreme caution.
If you’re in a school zone, the odds are good that you also have children in your car, and that they are telling you—loudly—about all the things you need to do and buy for them. When you’re in a school zone, though, enforce a time-out for all conversation. Play a quick round of “Who Can Be Quiet Longest?” so you can listen for any signs of trouble.
Respect the Crossing Guard
Crossing guards are the last line of defense between cars and kids, but they are too often ignored. Watch to make sure that the crossing guard is out of the road before proceeding; if not, there are likely other pedestrians still crossing.
Watch for Signage
School zone signs are required to be as visible as possible with yellow-green colors and sometimes flashing lights, but even that may not be enough if the marching band is practicing in the parking lot. Keep your eyes open for signs indicating reduced speed, crosswalks, and bus stops. Look out for other warnings, too, such as pavement markings and crosswalk barricades.
Give Buses a Wide Berth
School buses are carrying our most precious cargo, and they deserve special treatment on the roads. Do not pass them, do not try to beat them to the light, and don’t assume they can see you. If a bus slows down, prepare to stop even if you don’t see the bus’s stop sign.
After the world’s longest school break, it’s natural for us to forget everything we learned about navigating crowds. Take the time to study up on these driver safety tips for school zones, and everyone will get where they’re going—eventually.