Fall is on the approach, and that means that parents can take solace in the fact that their children will be heading back to school to broaden their horizons and challenge their minds. For children, this is an exciting time, but drivers are affected much differently. With large school busses ruling the streets, children clumsily biking quickly to make it to homeroom on time, and frazzled parents trying to drop their kids off in a hurry in order to make it to work on time, it’s safe to say that enhanced focus on the road is a must for all drivers.
While drivers must be keenly aware of their surroundings at all times, in the hours before and after school, congestion is amplified and higher-levels of vigilance are necessary. Here are some extremely helpful back to school safety tips for drivers.
Drop off and Pick up Regulations
Due to the heavy traffic in school drop off zones before and after classes are in session, many schools enforce procedures that parents or guardians must follow during these hours. To protect the safety of the children, teachers, and other pedestrians outside the school, drivers must abide by these rules:
- Do not pick up or drop off any children across the street from the school.
- Do not double-park your vehicle as it impedes visibility for others.
- When you can, carpooling is a great option to reduce vehicle congestion.
Driving Alongside Child Cyclists
Cyclists and their limited visibility are already a stressor for many drivers, but when you add child cyclists into the mix, things get trickier. While many children live close to their schools and choose to bike to get there, unlike an adult cyclist, they may not have a firm grasp on the rules of the road. Therefore, it is useful to employ these driving strategies when sharing the road with any child cyclists:
- When passing a cyclist, slow down and be sure to leave at least 3 feet of space between yourself and the cyclist.
- When you’re looking to turn left, if a cyclist is coming towards you from the opposite direction, let the rider pass first.
- Scan driveways and behind parked cars for cyclists.
- Check your mirrors and blind spots before opening your door to exit your vehicle.
- When you’re looking to turn right, if a cyclist is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider proceed through the intersection first.
Driving Alongside a School Bus
Since school buses transport multitudes of children each day, here are a few rules that drivers must follow when sharing the road with them to ensure the safety of the kids on board:
- Leave a larger following distance between yourself and the bus.
- If the bus is stopped, do not pass from behind, or from any direction if the road you are driving on is undivided.
- Proceed with caution, as children do not always watch for hazards and are prone to taking risks.
The Dangers of Speeding
Speeding is a form of reckless driving that not only endangers the driver, but also everyone else on the road. While speeding is illegal and greatly frowned upon everywhere, speeding in a school zone is an intensely dangerous act that no driver should ever partake in. Children are unpredictable, and while you may not be able to see them in your line of sight, they can jump out onto the road while playing games in a split second. Is getting to work on time worth the dramatic risk of endangering the lives of children at play? The answer is a firm no.
A common misconception is that speeding tickets only involve a fine, but that is not the case. Here are some additional penalties that a ticket can involve:
- If a driver is going 15km/h over the speed limit, he or she will receive demerit points.
- If a driver is going 30km/h over the speed limit, G1 or G2 license holders are suspended.
- If a driver is going 50km/h over the speed limit, he or she will face a possible 30-day suspension.
- Rising insurance rates.
- If a driver has received 9 or more demerit points, the Ministry of Transportation will discuss suspending driver’s licenses.
Although the summer months may have been a nice break from worrying about slowing down for school zones and drop off regulations, school is about to be in session and every driver must do what they can to prevent accidents. If your child has been injured by another driver’s negligence on his or her way to school, contact us today to learn about how we can help you receive the compensation you deserve.