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Back to School Driving Tips

School Bus
Photo: iStockphoto

Back to school is always an exciting time - for us and for the kids. Okay, mainly us. But with school back in session, there's a lot more traffic on the road - and a   lot of kids walking, riding and getting dropped off at school. According to Safe Kids Canada, the first two months of school are the worst for child pedestrian injury - so here are our top back to school driver safety tips to help keep you and the kids safe.

 

Allow extra driving time for your commute. Traffic is generally more congested when school is back in session - even if you don't live near a school, your drive times may be affected. Try to leave a half hour earlier than you usually would, at least for the first few weeks of the fall - then you'll be able to take your time and keep an eye out for darting children without worrying that you'll be late for work.

Slow it down. Speed limits are low in school zones, but with more kids walking, skateboarding or riding their bikes to school, it pays to slow down in residential areas as well. Children on the sidewalk can be difficult to see behind cars parked on the street, so be sure to scan the ground for little feet getting ready to cross the street.

Avoid distractions and focus on driving. If you're on the phone, eating or sipping your coffee, your reaction time will be slower if a child darts out into your path.

Respect the school bus. When the upper red lights are flashing, drivers travelling in either direction must stop until all of the children have exited the bus. Also, if you're behind a school bus, be sure and leave lots of room - they often make sudden stops.

Take it easy on new drivers. In high school areas, newly licensed drivers who've been practising all summer may be experiencing back to school traffic for the first time. Be patient and set a good example for those more inexperienced drivers - after all, you were just like them once.

Back to school time is also a good time to educate your kids on pedestrian safety. Check out this article at Safe Kids Canada for tips on how best to teach your kids to stay safe on the streets. Hope you all have a safe and happy back-to-school season!

- Erin F.

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