School Zone Safety Tips for Drivers
With school back in session, it is critical for all drivers to be fully aware of everything that’s happening in school zones, especially during pickup and drop-off times. There are more than 50 million children now back in school, which means significant increases in road and pedestrian traffic on streets and sidewalks in these areas. Drivers still need to focus on what’s happening on the road ahead of them, but it is also critical that they are extra-alert of their immediate surroundings while in school zones.
With this in mind, here are some school zone safety tips in Minnesota from our trucking company. Keep these in mind as you travel through school zones this fall and throughout the rest of the school year:
- Slow down: First and foremost, you should slow down when approaching school zones. School zone signs will tell you that special speed limits apply during certain hours of the day or when children are present. Be sure to abide by all of these instructions. Slowing down is one of the best things you can do to avoid an accident, and it gives you more time to react if a student does enter the roadway.
- Follow crossing guard instructions: Many elementary schools employ crossing guards to protect children and other pedestrians at crosswalks. You must respect the authority of the crossing guard and come to a complete stop when they’re in the intersection and have their sign up. It does nobody any good to try to get around the crossing guard or to honk at the crossing guard while they’re doing their job.
- Never pass stopped school buses: It is illegal in all 50 states to drive past a school bus that is in the process of loading or unloading children. These buses will generally have their lights flashing and a stop sign extended. Attempting to pass creates a high risk of fatal accidents for children who are simply trying to get to or from school.
- Yield at flashing lights: Many schools also have flashing lights set up at crosswalks as another way to encourage vehicles to slow down and yield to people crossing the street. Rectangular rapid flashing beacons have become particularly common at some of the more high-risk intersections around the nation, including in school zones. They serve as a reminder to drivers that pedestrians always have the right of way at crosswalks.
- Don’t block crosswalks: You should also be careful where you pull your vehicle up to stop. Stop at the marked white line that comes before the crosswalk, not in the crosswalk itself. Vehicles that stop inside a crosswalk force pedestrians to go around the vehicle another way, which could put them in harm’s way.
- Eliminate distractions: Put down your phone, tune out other distractions and focus on the road and your surroundings. You need to be completely aware of everything that’s happening around you.
For more information about school zone safety in Minnesota and how our trucking company does its part to keep everyone safe, reach out to K-Way Express, Inc. today.