September is synonymous with school opening. While the malls may be a little less crowded, the roads are certainly more congested with parents ushering their kids to and from school.
And then there is the increase in bicycle and pedestrian traffic. With all this chaos, it pays to be calm, cool and collected. It also pays to remember some back to school safety tips.
- First and foremost, remain alert since children are unpredictable and often assume risks and ignore dangerous hazards.
- Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods.
- When school is in session, drive slowly and increase your level of attention in the cluster of hours before and after school.
- Stop far enough behind a bus to allow children ample area to safely enter and exit the bus. The area immediately around a school bus is prone to having young pedestrians in its vicinity. Thus, the area approximately ten (10) feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children.
- Never pass a school bus from either direction if you're on an undivided road, and the bus is stopped to load or unload children. A friendly reminder: Each of the 50 states makes it illegal to pass a stopped school bus loading or unloading children.
- When driving behind a school bus, allow a greater following distance than you would normally, such as when driving behind a car. This will provide more time to stop once the school bus starts flashing its yellow lights to indicate it is coming to a stop. If the yellow or red lights of a bus are flashing and its stop arm is extended, traffic must come to a complete stop.
- Know the rules for getting your kids to and from school. Most schools have specific procedures for picking up and dropping off students. Ignorance of these procedures may not only be disruptive and cause traffic problems but may also be dangerous to children.
- Don't double park since it blocks other children and vehicles from being visible and may cause traffic problems
- Don't load or unload children across the street from the school
- Use carpools when possible to reduce the vehicle traffic at the school
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Back-To-School Driving Tips, Part 2: Young Pedestrians & Bicyclists