Hear that? That’s the sound of parental glee as they happily prepare their darling children to return to school! And with the return of the school year, now is the perfect time for a refresher on safe driving around schools, buses, etc.
- Pay attention to “School Zone” signs. Now that schools are back in session, you must obey the slower speed limits around the schools. Both Connecticut and RI have 20MPH speed limits in school zones.
- Keep your eyes out for pedestrians/bicyclists. There will be an increase in children walking the sidewalks and biking to school. Pay close attention, as some of these children may be prone to dart about willy-nilly. This is especially important if your daily drive takes you near the schools.
- Obey the signals on school buses. The blinking red lights and “Stop” sign that comes out mean NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO PASS THE BUS! When a bus is picking up or dropping off students, you must stop going both ways to allow for the safe passage of students to cross the street and you must remain stopped until the bus turns off the flashing lights/draws in the “Stop” sign.
- If you drive your child to school, please understand and follow your school’s pick up/drop off procedures. It is never okay to try to jump the line, the procedures are set up to protect the children, not to accommodate your busy schedule.
- State law already dictates that you must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalks, but it is especially critical that you pay close attention during the times before and after school when more children will be strolling about.
- Obey the crossing guard! The crossing guards are charged with getting our children safely across the street and you must respect their direction. If you can’t, find a different route.
- If the car in front of you have stopped to allow pedestrians to cross the street, DO NOT TRY TO PASS THE CAR! Trust me, people try to do this all the time.
- STAY OFF YOUR PHONE! The law is clear, no hand use of a phone when driving, and yet I still see so many people driving with their phone in hand and eyes on the screen and not the road. Five seconds is the average time a person “glances” at their phone, just enough time for your car to hit something…or someone without you knowing.
And if you are confused as to when you are required to stop for a school bus with its stop lights on, here’s a great graphic: