With schools opening after a longer-than-usual break, students and drivers may not used to sharing the road. So, whether you’re dropping off your child, passing a school or driving near a bus, it’s important to be extra cautious. Here are a few reminders:
Peak precaution. While drivers should always be vigilant around pedestrians and bicycles, they should be especially so during the morning and afternoon when students are going to and from school. Particularly in school zones, near playgrounds and parks and in residential areas. On being in the zone. It’s safest to pull up to a school—rather than park across the street—to drop off a student. And don’t double park in a school zone, as it can block visibility for kids and other vehicles.
Make it clear. It’s best to avoid blocking a crosswalk because if you do, pedestrians may go around you, which may put them in the path of moving vehicles. And never pass a car stopped at a crosswalk, because there may be pedestrians you can’t see.
The way back. Check your mirrors before backing up, as pedestrians or bikes can unexpectedly move into your path.
Lighting the way. When a school bus is flashing yellow lights, it means slow down because it’s about to stop. A red light means stop and wait—at least 20 feet behind the bus. Don’t proceed until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop sign is withdrawn and the bus starts moving.
Cycle sense. When passing a bike, leave at least three feet between your car and the cyclist. Know that kids on bikes often make turns without looking or signaling. Children are often unpredictable, move quickly and take risks. That’s why drivers need to be especially alert around them and able to act quickly to prevent a disaster.