Back to School Safety

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August is back to school safety month. Summer is coming to a close, vacations are over and school is about to begin. What does this time of year mean to us in the workforce? Well for one, more children are out walking or riding their bikes to and from school. Additionally, there are more cars and buses, which causes more traffic and an increased need for sharing the road. Drivers need to be on the lookout for the hazards that this time of year brings. Here are some tips on school zone safety.

Driving reminders:

  • Allow for extra time and plan your route in advance during the first few weeks of school. There will be increased traffic, buses and pedestrians to watch out for.
  • Slow down and be alert, especially in school zones and residential neighborhoods. Children are unpredictable and don’t always follow the rules. Make sure you take extra time to look out for children on or near the road.
  • Make sure you yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and never block any part of a crosswalk. Never pass a car stopped for pedestrians.
  • Obey signals from crossing guards or police in school zones. Make sure to drive the speed limit and be alert for pedestrians crossing the street.
  • Limit any distractions in your car. Put away your cell phone and talk or text later. Your mind and eyes should be on the road.
  • Follow the school zone speed limits (usually 20 to 25 mph) and slow down gradually instead of slamming on your brakes. Remember to use your turn signals as well.
  • Be mindful of teen drivers. Teens crash more than the average driver because they are inexperienced. They often struggle with judging gaps in traffic, driving the right speed for conditions and turning safely. Be alert and on the lookout for these newer drivers.

School bus zones:

  • There is a “danger zone” in a 10 foot radius around a bus. The bus driver can’t see people in the danger zone, which makes it dangerous for children. Stop far enough back to allow them to safely enter and exit the bus.
  • Don’t follow a school bus too closely. They make frequent stops to load and unload students. Come to a complete stop and never pass a stopped bus with flashing lights and a stop sign. This means that children are either loading or unloading the bus.
  • School buses take longer to stop than an average car, especially in bad weather. Increase your following distance and be careful when passing. Do not cut off a bus or pass too closely.
  • Watch for children entering and exiting a bus. Make sure to watch for children gathered at bus stops or near bus stops.

Now that school is almost in session it is good to be reminded of school zone safety. Use simple common sense, be on the lookout for children, and be courteous. To learn more about school safety visit the National Safety Council’s website. Remember, getting to work or other places is never as important as getting children to school and home safely.

Stay Safe!

Source: Texas Mutual Insurance Company

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