The school year is starting and with it comes an influx of excited kids and teenagers making their way to and from school. It’s important for parents to share tips with their kids on how to stay safe throughout the school year.
Whether you are an adult or a student, drivers and motorists of all ages are encouraged to be extra careful while driving during the times that school begins and ends. Drivers should be aware of school zones and their speed limits, which are often between 15-20 miles, to avoid pedestrian accidents. Drivers should always be observant of their surroundings and avoid any distractions like cell phones or conversations with passengers, especially while driving near playgrounds, school zones and neighborhoods.
If your child plans on walking to school, be sure to teach them to look both ways at crosswalks and how to safely follow cross guard instructions. Pedestrians 10 and younger should be accompanied by an adult or young adult on their way to and from school. Aside from traffic, kids should always be aware of their surroundings and avoid talking to strangers or taking less-traveled paths.
In 2010, 18 percent of the bicyclists injured in motor vehicle crashes were 14 and younger. All bikers should have a good understanding of traffic laws, especially if they are riding on the street, and they should always wear a helmet. A proper helmet should be snug and sit squarely on the head.
Follow School Bus Traffic Stop Laws
Many drivers are unaware of school bus traffic stop laws and that failing to follow them is illegal and can result in a fine. While school buses may slow down traffic, it is important to remember that safety is always more important.
Here is a basic run-through of school bus traffic stop laws:
- Flashing Yellow Lights – this means a bus is preparing to stop. Drivers must slow down a
nd not attempt to pass a bus. Oncoming traffic must slow down to speeds of at least 20 miles per hour.
- Flashing Red Lights and STOP Arm – this means every driver behind the bus or oncoming traffic must come to a complete stop. Failing to do this potentially puts a child’s life in danger and can result in hefty fines.
- On a Two-Lane Road and Flashing Red Lights with STOP Arm – A bus is loading or unloading passengers and passing in this scenario is illegal. Drivers must come to a complete stop 15 feet from the bus and remain there until the bus continues to drive.
- Two or More Lanes in Each Direction– A car must come to a complete stop beside or behind a bus going in the same direction. However, drivers do not need to stop if they are traveling the opposite direction on a road with multiple lanes.
Remember that just because you are following safe driving, walking or biking tips doesn’t mean everyone else is. Take the time to teach your children about pedestrian safety to start building positive transportation safety habits in their lives.
Photo courtesy of/Jim Larrison