Driving Safety Refresher: Back To School
Autumn is almost upon us and schools across the county will soon be back in full swing. Along with busy ball fields and jungle gyms will come more kids running across the street and a plethora of yellow school busses on the highways. With this in mind, it's a great opportunity for drivers everywhere to brush up on a couple of back to school driving tips:
Double Check Those Crosswalks
Now that kids will be back on their way to school, it's time to double and triple check those intersections; just when you think it's all systems go, a late for school student will magically appear out of nowhere and dart across the street when you least anticipate it. Making, full stops at stop signs and red-lights before turning right will give you the time you need to be completely sure the coast is clear before you enter a crosswalk.
Silly Drivers, School Zones Are For Kids
Have your foot covering the brake pedal and your eyes scanning the road when entering a marked school zone. When children are at hand, school zones require you to obey the posted 25mph or slower speed limit, regardless of the day of week or time of day. For example, if it's a Friday night at 10pm and you are in a school zone when kids are present (maybe a football game just ended), you are still required to adjust your speed to obey the slower school zone speed limit.
When you slow down for pedestrians, you not only make yourself a safer driver, but you also help other drivers who may not see the obstacles you do. When they see you slowing down, their natural intuition will kick in and they too will slow down to see what potential hazard may lie ahead.
Treat a Yellow Bus Like Gold
Those large yellow vehicles packed with a "bus load" of children? They're called school busses and there are special regulations in place to ensure they get from their origin to their destination safe and sound. Did you know that more bus passengers are killed while unloading or loading each year than are killed while traveling inside a school bus? When a school bus stops with its red brake lights flashing and/or its stop sign raised, you must stop from either direction until all kids are safely across the street and the bus lights stop flashing (unless the school bus is stopped on the other side of a multilane or divided highway).
Also, don't tailgate a bus as they often make sudden stops when least expected. Finally, when a school bus is trying to merge back into traffic, you must give them the right of way.
A Few Other Back To School Items to Ponder
Near high school campuses, bear in mind that a higher amount of the motorists are newly licensed teenage drivers who may not have as much driving know-how as you do.
For parents dropping their kids of at school, always be sure your u-turns are safe and legal after you let little Billy off at the curb. And make sure that curb you're pulling over to is NOT reserved for busses or emergency vehicles.
At the end of the day, all we ask is that you be considerate and civil, have tolerance of other drivers and don't rush your judgment when passing through school zones. Parents and kids across this great interstate-linked country thank you for it!