It's that time of year again. Even if school will look different throughout every neighborhood, buses are still picking up their passengers, kids may still be on bikes hurrying to get to school before the bell rings, and parents are dropping their kids off before work.
As Fall approaches, it’s crucial for drivers to slow down and pay attention when kids are present, especially before and after school.
A few precautions go a long way toward keeping children, drivers and businesses safe:
Sharing the Road with Pedestrians
Most children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old and walking. Often they get hit by a bus or motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. A few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you.
- Stop and yield to pedestrians crossing a crosswalk or intersection, especially when school zone flashers are blinking
- Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks
- Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
Sharing the Road with School Buses
Be alert. Children are often unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards, taking risks. Allow greater following distance behind a bus than if you were driving behind a car.
- Never pass a bus if it is stopped to load or unload children
- If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
- Stop far enough back to allow children space to safely enter and exit the bus
Sharing the Road with Bicyclists
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities, but bikes can be hard to see. The most common cause of collision is a driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.
- When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, leaving 3 feet between your car and the cyclist
- When turning left with a bicyclist approaching, wait for the rider to pass
- Watch for bikers turning in front of you without looking or signaling
- Be extra careful in school zones and residential neighborhoods
- Check side mirrors before opening your door
Drivers and pedestrians can co-exist safely in school zones by exercising a little extra care and caution.