Over the next couple of weeks, children will be starting a new school year so we all need to be aware of school zone safety.
Traffic is often congested outside of schools early in the day as parents drop their kids off, and after school when they return to pick them up. If you are a passing motorist, use extreme caution, particularly near children who are walking to school.
Speed limits vary from state to state, but they are typically 20mph in most school zone jurisdictions. Outside some schools, the speed limit is 15mph. Whatever it is, when you are driving in a school zone and children are present, it's time to slow down.
To protect lives, here are some tips:
Don't Block the Crosswalk
This can happen at a red light or if you are making a turn. If you are blocking the crosswalk, students walking to school will have to walk around your vehicle, putting them in potential harm's way from other traffic.
Yield to Pedestrians
When you are in a school zone, yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections. Some kids may jaywalk and it's important to be alert for those who are not crossing the streets at crosswalks.
Stop for Crossing Guards
If the school employs crossing guards, always stop for them when they hold up the Stop sign. Drive extra slowly near the crosswalks so you can be prepared to stop quickly if needed.
Watch Out for Children
Before and after school, school zones are often buzzing with activity. Pay attention and beware of kids unpredictably dashing out into the roadway. Be on the lookout for kids on bicycles who can suddenly appear out of nowhere.
Don't Pass Stopped Cars
If the vehicle in front of you has stopped for pedestrians, do not pass.
School buses have two types of lights that you need to be aware of:
Flashing Yellow Lights: This means the bus is preparing to stop to unload or load children. On two- or four-lane roads without a median, cars on both sides should prepare to stop.
Flashing Red Lights: These are usually accompanied by an arm with a small Stop sign that extends from the side of the bus. This means that children are in the process of boarding or leaving the bus and some may need to cross the street afterwards.
All drivers must stop and wait until the lights stop flashing, the extended arm retracts, and the bus starts moving again.
Give the bus a wide berth. School buses are large vehicles and are not as maneuverable as smaller vehicles. Give them space to stop and make turns.
And remember: School buses are required to stop at railroad crossings before proceeding.
Dropping Children Off
If you are a parent or a guardian who drops off and picks up a child at school, you will have an added dimension of risk. To avoid hitting another vehicle or a child:
• Get acquainted with the school's rules for dropping and picking up your children.
• Don't double park.
• If possible, don't pick up or drop off your child across the street from the school.
• Consider organizing a carpool with a neighbor who has children that attend your child's school- this will help minimize the number of vehicles looking to drop off and pick up the kids..
• Drive extra slowly and be on the lookout for running kids, particularly if you are unloading yours in a school driveway.
These simple steps can keep our kids safe and ensure a smooth transition to and from school. For further information, please feel free to contact our agency at 781-289-7445 or visit our website at https://www.rizzoinsurance.com/