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Back to School Means Sharing the Road

Next week is back to school and school days bring congestion. It’s never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when kids are present – especially before and after school. 

If You’re Dropping Children Off

  • 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

Most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they’re walking.

  • Don’t block the crosswalk forcing pedestrians to go around you
  • In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians
  • Always stop for crossing guard holding up a stop sign
  • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians

Back to school also means 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.

  • Yellow flashing lights on a school bus mean slow down — don’t speed up — because the bus is preparing to stop.
  • Red flashing lights mean stop — and wait at least 20 feet behind the bus — because children are getting on or off the school bus.
  • Even when lights aren’t flashing, watch for children around school arrival and dismissal times.

With school back in session, more children are riding their bikes to school. Use these safety tips to help keep children safe.

  • When passing a bicyclist, eave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist
  • When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in front of you, wait for the rider to pass
  • If you’re turning right and a bicyclist 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 bicyclists can co-exist safely.