More folks on the road, more kids on the sidewalk, pumpkin-flavoured drinks on the menu – must be back to school time! As the days get shorter and the traffic gets busier, here’s a refresher on sharing the road and staying safe this time of year.
Put down your phone. This applies to both drivers AND pedestrians. That’s right, I’m looking at you, kid who walked right into my dog this morning because he was too distracted by his phone to watch where he was going. Distracted driving due to phone use has become a major problem; and distracted walking has its own set of perils. Put your phone away when you’re driving or walking.
Turn down the tunes. Here’s another tip for both drivers and pedestrians; if you’re listening to music, in your car or on your headphones, keep it at a reasonable level so you can still hear ambient sounds.
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.
Respect the speed limits. Obviously, speed limits are lower in school zones, but be vigilant when driving in residential areas as well. While the weather is still good, more kids will be walking, skateboarding or riding their bikes to school. 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 road.
Obey the school bus rules. 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 a good time to educate your kids on pedestrian safety. Check out this article from Parachute Canada for more tips on how best to teach your kids to stay safe on the streets.
Do you notice a change in traffic patterns when school is back in session? What kind of adjustments do you make to your commute? Let us know in the comments. Hope you all have a safe and happy back-to-school season!
- Rose R.