It’s back to school season and your kids are probably already prepared. You’ve bought the notebooks, put together first day of school outfits, and packed the lunches, but have you thought about the drive yet? Early mornings, rowdy young passengers, and busy school zones can make driving back to school tricky and stressful. With these simple tips, you can keep yourself, your young passengers, and pedestrians safe.
1. Keep Your Passengers Safe
Whether you are just driving your own kids or carpooling with a load of little ones, all your passengers should be subject to your number one rule: seatbelts, seatbelts, seatbelts. Not only is it the law, but it also saves tens of thousands of lives every year. All children under 12 years of age or 4 feet and four inches in height are legally required to sit in an appropriate child’s car seat. Don’t make any exceptions! Make sure that whether a passenger is your child or someone else’s, they have the suitable seats and restraints to keep them safe and secure.
2. Respect the Zone
School zones can be hectic with rowdy passengers, distracted pedestrians, and parents in a hurry to get their kids dropped off in time. This is why it is so important to respect the laws and take extra precautions when driving in school zones. Mind the school zone speed limits at all appropriate times, school hours, drop-off and pickup times, peak after school hours, and other events. You should always pay attention for little pedestrians and teenage drivers who may not be doing the same.
3. Be Mindful of Buses
Imagine being responsible for safely delivering a carload of 40 noisy kids to school every morning. Bus drivers’ jobs can be pretty stressful, so do your part to make their job a little easier. If you’re driving behind a school bus, give yourself a big buffer zone. This will give you plenty of time to stop safely when the bus’ lights start to flash or the stop arm extends. You should be mindful of the space you put between yourself and a bus whether you are in front of, behind, or beside it. It is illegal to pass a school bus when it is stopped or unloading, so be patient. The area around a school bus is the most dangerous for little pedestrians, so give them the space to load and exit safely.
4. Be Aware of Pedestrians and Bicyclists
Little walkers and bike riders can be difficult to see from behind the wheel, which is why it is so important to be aware of your surroundings when driving in school zones. You should always stop for crossing guards and never block a crosswalk at a red light. No matter who has the right of way, you should never pass a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians. You should also be mindful when sharing the road with young bicyclists who may not be surveying traffic conditions carefully. Give bikers a wide buffer and pass them slowly and carefully when necessary. By taking care to exercise a little extra caution, drivers, passengers, and bikers can all get to school safely.
5. Stay Focused
Going back to school often means that you are not only traveling with you own kids in tow, but often others as well. Carpooling reduces the amount of traffic in school zones, making them safer and easier to navigate. However, it also increases the amount of chatter, movement, and potential distraction in your car. This is where Safe Driver Systems comes in. Our safe driving technology will act as your extra eyes and ears, by constantly analyzing road conditions and dispatching warnings accordingly. Contact SDS today to bring an extra level of safety to your drop-off and pickup routine.