School’s back in session, so now’s an excellent time for a tutorial on driving safely in and around school zones.
Our friends at AAA, a fantastic resource for safe and enjoyable motoring, provided these 9 important school zone safety tips:
Be Alert. Watch for signs, crossing guards and other indications that you’re approaching a school zone.
Drive Distraction-Free. Keep your eyes on the road, not on your cellphone, radio dial or the morning newspaper. AAA research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chance of crashing.
Slow Down. School zone speed limits are intentionally set low for several good reasons:
- Children are unpredictable (they may dart into the street unexpectedly) and have difficulty gauging the distance and speed of an approaching car.
- Lower speeds significantly reduce the likelihood of fatal accidents. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at a reduced school zone speed of 25 mph is nearly 66% less likely to be killed than a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
Stop for School Buses Loading or Unloading Students. Resist temptation to save a little time by driving around a school bus with its lights flashing red and stop sign extended. Doing so is unsafe and against the law. While laws vary by state, it’s safe to assume you must stop behind a school bus with its lights flashing red and stop sign extended if you are in the same lane or an adjacent lane (either in the same direction or an opposite direction) or if the bus is at an intersection you’re approaching.
Come to a Complete Stop. According to AAA, research shows that more than one-third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods.
Back Out of Driveways Slowly. In many neighborhoods, children are walking to school during the morning commute. So, be sure to back out of your driveway slowly and watch for little ones.
Be Especially Cautious Around Young Bicyclists. Anyone who has seen young cyclists riding in the neighborhood knows they can be a little wobbly and very unpredictable. So, pass them slowly and allow a wide berth — at least three feet between the bicyclist and your vehicle. If your child rides a bike to school, make sure the child wears a properly fitted bicycle helmet every time.
Make Sure You Can See and That You Can Be Seen. Our days are getting shorter and rain is making its way back into the forecast. So, take a few seconds now to double-check that all of your vehicle’s lights and signals are functioning correctly and that your windshield wipers are cleaning your windshield well.
Our Famous 18-Point Full-Service Oil Change includes a complimentary check of your lights, signals and windshield wipers. Our trained technicians will be happy to replace burned out bulbs and worn-out wiper blades.
Talk to Your Teen Driver. AAA notes that car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States and nearly one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur during the after-school hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Get tips to help your teen drive safely at TeenDriving.AAA.com