I remember when my biggest worry in heading back to school was whether I had bought the right Trapper Keeper notebook or if I’d get to sit next to Jimmy Alexander in History class (Jimmy… he was dreamy). This year, back to school looks a little different for everyone and both kids and their parents have a lot of new things to worry about. One thing that hasn’t changed: the need for safe driving in and around school zones. In fact, taking a little extra care this year is a good idea.
Kids returning to class will have even more distractions than usual, like seeing their friends for the first time in months, getting used to wearing a mask, or having a different schedule for attending class. All these distractions mean that they may be less aware of their surroundings. So as drivers, we need to be even more aware. Here are a few things drivers can do:
- Slow down when you're in a school zone
- Obey signals from stopped school buses and crossing guards
- Never pass a school bus that has stopped to unload children, and
- Watch for children darting out between parked cars
Some kids may also be riding their bikes to school for the first time. Watch out for young cyclists and give them the right of way. If you are turning left and a cyclist is approaching from the opposite direction, wait for them to ride through the intersection before turning.
And remember, road conditions can rapidly change this time of year. Falling leaves and increased precipitation can create visual hazards as well as slick spots on the road. Plus, the days are getting shorter and there isn't as much light in the mornings and afternoons.
All of this points to taking a slower, more cautious approach to your commute. Help keep kids safe as they return to school.