With summer winding down, schools are now preparing for students to walk through their front doors. So whether you’re a student, parent, teacher, or driver passing a school on your daily commute, we all have a role to play in keeping each other safe.
Here are a few ways to keep safety in mind this schoolyear:
- Reduce your speed –Whether it’s morning dropoff or afternoon pickup time, it’s crucial that you drive at a slower rate of speed around schools and children who may not be paying attention to their surroundings. Driving at a slower speed is best practice for drivers needing to make quick, yet safe decisions while behind the wheel. Pay attention to school zones, and obey their limits.
- Allow extra time for the commute –While it’s much easier said than done, try starting your commute a few minutes sooner than normal to prepare for traffic conditions. Especially at the start of the schoolyear while drivers are reacclimating to the “school in session” commute, it is wise for drivers to allow enough time to get to the destination safely. No one likes to be late, and for drivers, this added anxiety of running behind schedule often leads to fast and reckless driving. Therefore, give yourself a cushion on time to avoid the stress and mistakes that come with being late for work or school.
- Share the road with bicyclists & pedestrians –Anytime you get on the road, it becomes your responsibility as a driver to share the road with pedestrians and bicyclists. This is especially vital in school zones. On any given morning or afternoon, you’ll find students crossing crosswalks, biking to or from school, and even running to or from the car for morning dropoff or afternoon pickup. Don’t just assume that these children are paying attention. Drive cautiously and limit your own distractions to put safe and responsible driving first and foremost. It can save a life.
- Be cautious around school buses & crossings –Never trail a school bus too closely. With frequent stops, one should allow a safe distance in order to prepare to stop at any moment. Be cognizant of flashing lights to signal an upcoming stop, and NEVER attempt to pass a school bus that has the stop arm extended. Failing to obey these traffic laws can have devastating and life-altering consequences for the children loading and unloading the bus, and there is absolutely no excuse for not complying. Same goes for school crossing guards. They are there to do a job. Don’t jeopardize the safety of others because you’re worried about punctuality. Be prepared for the unexpected, and adjust accordingly.
Did you know that more children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location? It’s time to make safety a priority again, and that starts with prepared and responsible driving. From all of us at McCoy & Hiestand, have a SAFE and wonderful school year!