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Vehicle Safety in School Zones

Most accidents can be avoided when you follow the rules of the road. These rules are especially important in school zones where young children run and play. School zones are typically marked accordingly to make parents and other drivers in the area aware of the reduced speed limit, especially during arrival and dismissal times. All motorists, pedestrians, school buses and cyclists must do their part to keep children safe around the school building. Keep these safety rules in mind when driving in school zones.

Designated Parking

Familiarize yourself with pick-up and drop-off areas around the school. This will make finding a legal parking spot easier when you arrive at school. Be aware of any signs that say “No Stopping”, “No Standing” or “No Parking” and do not stop or park in these areas. Look for designated cross walks and areas in which children will be walking or playing. Also pay attention to teacher-only parking  areas and stay out of these spaces.

Traffic Infractions

Avoid accidents and traffic infractions by following the rules of the road, even when you are running late. It can be tempting to speed when you’re late bringing your child to school or picking him up, but these actions can be dangerous. Although you may be a few minutes late, ensure that you follow the speed limit, watch for pedestrians and slowdown in case of small children who may run out into the roadway.

Distractions

Distractions should be avoided whenever you drive a vehicle, but this is especially important in areas with high traffic, such as in school zones. Refrain from talking or texting on your mobile phone, eating or drinking or fidgeting with your children in the back seat. Keep your eyes on the road, clear your head and focus on driving and the environment around you to avoid an accident.

School Bus Safety

Take extra caution when driving around school buses and always follow school bus laws. It is against the law to pass a school bus that has stopped and has its lights flashing and its “STOP” arm extended. Note what lights are turned on the school bus to determine your ability to pass. Flashing yellow lights mean that a bus is loading or unloading children, meaning drivers need to slow and be prepared to stop.

Extra Tips

Parents and other motorists should take extra caution when driving in and around school zones. It’s essential to stop at crosswalks to allow pedestrians to cross, even if the intersection is not visibly marked. Pedestrians always have the right away at crosswalks, requiring motorists to yield before turning. It’s important to watch the roads at all times and lower your speed when in a school zone to avoid accidents.

When school is in session, motorists may encounter some unique driving hazards. With so many children present in a steady stream of traffic, it’s more important than ever to focus on safe driving when you’re dropping your children off and picking them up from school. Paying close attention to the parking areas, the school buses and other drivers can drastically reduce your chances of getting into a vehicle accident in a school zone.