As a mother and a driver, I’m always mindful to pay extra attention when travelling through school zones. Whether there are elementary, middle or high schools around, knowing the importance of following the rules of the road in these zones is crucial. Far too often, I’ve witnessed other drivers speeding and simply not paying attention. Carelessness can be a huge problem in school zones, so it’s incredibly necessary to stay aware and understand the traffic laws of the area. I urge any driver, a parent or not, to consider these 7 tips for driving safely through school zones.
- Recognise School Zones
First and foremost, know where school zones are in your area. If you’re passing through them daily, get familiar with exactly where they begin and end and what the speed limit is. If you’re not familiar with an area you’re driving through, keep your eyes open. Watch out for signs indicating a school zone is close by, flashing lights or speed bumps. Become familiar as well with the times of day these reduced speeds are enforced. Also keep in mind that some schools are on a year-round schedule, so these rules and regulations still apply through the summer.
- Reduce Your Speed
Speeds in school zones can be anywhere from 10 to 15 miles per hour lower than speed limits elsewhere on the same road. Pay attention to the signs as the school zone approaches, and give yourself enough time to properly slow down.
- Stay Alert
Prepare yourself for a sea of pedestrians. There should be crosswalks located throughout the school zone. Even if a pedestrian isn’t using a crosswalk, you still need yield – now is not the time for road rage or aggressive driving. Don’t block crosswalks either, as it could force pedestrians to weave around vehicles where other drivers won’t see them.
- Expect Heavy Traffic
Because of slower speeds, school buses and an abundance of pedestrians and cyclists, you can expect a dense buildup of traffic. According to car accident lawyers in New Jersey, Davis, Saperstein & Solomon, the most frequent contributing factor to accidents is driver inattention. This is followed closely by unsafe speeds.
- Be Aware of Buses
Keep in mind that it is illegal all throughout the United States to pass a school bus that has stopped to drop off or pick up children. If you’re traveling behind a bus, allow more space than you’d think between it and your vehicle. School buses will stop often, so allow yourself enough time to come safely to a stop.
- Obey Crossing Guards
Crossing guards or police officers directing traffic in a school zone always take precedence over traffic signs. Pay close attention to what they’re directing you to do. If they are directing traffic, it probably means it’s one of the busiest times for kids to be walking to and from school, so stay attentive.
- Understand the Fines are Severe
Fines in school zones are much more severe than in other areas – this is so people will stay more alert in these locations. Drive carefully and pay close attention to your surroundings to avoid fines as well as potential accidents.
-Guest post by Sarah D.-
Sarah Dee is a writer and mother of a child who still uses a rear facing car seat.
While she writes about a variety of topics, her passion and main focus is writing about child and roadway safety.
She enjoys connecting with fellow parent writers and exchanging stories and experiences.