Slow Down: Back to School Means Sharing the Road
Sep 1, 2017

School days bring congestion: Yellow school buses
are picking up their students, kids on bikes are hurrying to get to school
before the bell rings, and harried parents are trying to drop their kids off
before work.

It’s never more important for drivers to slow down
and pay attention than when kids are present ‘“ especially before and after

If You’re
Dropping Off

Schools often have very specific drop-off
procedures for the school year. Make sure you know them for the safety of all
kids. More children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location, according to the National Safe Routes to School program.
The following apply to all school zones:

·Don’t double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles

·Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school

·Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school

Sharing the
Road with Young Pedestrians

According to research by the National Safety
Council, ‘œmost of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents
are 4 to 7 years old, and they’re walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a
motorist illegally passing a stopped bus.” A few precautions go a long way
toward keeping children safe:

·Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make
a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path
of moving traffic

·In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to
pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection

·Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a
stop sign

·Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near
playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas

·Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have
the right of way

·Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians

·Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they
may be, no matter who has the right of way

Sharing the
Road with School Buses

If you’re driving behind a bus, allow a greater
following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more
time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50
states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.

·Never pass a bus from behind ‘“ or from either direction if you’re on an
undivided road ‘“ if it is stopped to load or unload children

·If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended,
traffic must stop

·The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children;
stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus

·Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore
hazards and take risks

Sharing the
Road with Bicyclists

On most roads, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as vehicles, but bikes can be hard to see. Children riding bikes
create special problems for drivers because usually they are not able to
properly determine traffic conditions. The most common cause of collision is a
driver turning left in front of a bicyclist.

·When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and
leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist

·When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite
direction, wait for the rider to pass

·If you’re turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on
the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your
turn signals

·Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or
signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this

·Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods

·Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars

·Check side mirrors before opening your door

By exercising a little extra care and caution,
drivers and pedestrians can co-exist safely in school zones. Please Slow Down!