August 24th, 2020
Tips for Driving in a School Zone
With the beginning of the school year upon us, there also comes a change in our driving patterns and practices, and more specifically, how we drive when going through a school zone. As we all know, there are certain rules and regulations that specifically apply to school zones such as reducing speed and stopping at cross walks. However, there are other tips we can follow when traveling through these school zones. As set forth by the National Safety Council, below are specific tips for operating a vehicle while in a school zone:
- Follow the school’s drop-off and pick-up guidelines
- Do not load or unload children across the street from the school unless that is the designated area for doing so
- Do not block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn
- In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection
- Stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign or aiding children across the road
- Look out for children who are walking from residential areas or playgrounds to or from school
- Look out for any toys, including basketballs, footballs, etc., that may be thrown into traffic as children may be tempted to run out to grab them
- Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way
In addition to these tips, one must be equally, if not more cautious, when driving behind or near a school bus. For example, if you're driving behind a bus, you should follow at a greater distance than if you were driving behind another type of vehicle to allow more time and distance to stop once it is clear whether the bus is making a stop. Additionally, you should not pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. You also need to watch for the flashing lights of the bus. Are the lights yellow or red? Is the stop-arm extended? If so, you must stop. In sum, you must be much more alert and cautious in these scenarios.
While there may not be as much traffic around the school zones in 2020 due because of increased virtual or remote learning, motorists should remain as vigilant as ever when operating a vehicle in a school zone.