School Zone Safety Tips
As many children across the Phoenix valley head back to school this week, it is more important than ever to make sure that drivers, parents, and children alike are aware of the dangers and hazards in school zones and take care to drive safely. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, riding a bus to school is 13 times safer than riding in a passenger vehicle and 10 times safer than walking to school. Many of the children who lose their lives in bus-related crashes are pedestrians who are hit by the bus or instead by motorists who are illegally passing a stopped bus.
Not only are students at an increased risk of transportation injuries, but all motorists are at risk simply because there are so many more drivers on the road and pedestrians in the street during rush hour. Follow these tips from Premier Coach Works RV and Auto Body Shop to stay safe on the road and in school zones this time of year.
- Slow down for school buses, even if the drivers of said buses are not necessarily being careful. We’ve all been cut off by at least one school bus that refuses to use turn signals or look both ways before crossing the street. However, for the sake of you, your passengers, and those traveling on the bus, always pay extra attention, maintain a safe following distance, avoid the bus’ blind spots and obey the speed limit.
- Always stop for a bus that is loading or unloading passengers, or a bus that has its stop sign extended and red lights flashing. It is illegal to pass a school bus that has stopped to pick up or drop off children.
- Drive the posted speed limit in a school zone. This is so you have adequate time to respond to pedestrians on the road as well as sudden stops from other vehicles. The fines for speeding in a school zone are also an adequate preventative measure to keep you from speeding.
- If you are on a two-lane road and a bus on either side of the road stops with its stop sign extended, you must stop as well. If the road has more than two lanes and the bus is stopped in the opposite direction you are traveling, you do not have to stop – just make sure you slow down.
- Be on the lookout for pedestrians and be prepared to stop at any time. This means that you must drive slowly and carefully; children are unpredictable and it only takes a second for a child to dart into the road. Children walking to or from their bus are usually very comfortable with their surroundings, which makes them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street. As a result, remain alert at all times.
- When you are nearing a school and there is a vehicle blocking traffic while they slowly file into the school parking lot, be patient. If you are on a two-lane road, do not lurch into the opposite lane to try to get around the line of vehicles, as you will not be able to see oncoming traffic and could risk a head-on collision.
- Never pass a school bus on the right. It is illegal and could have tragic consequences.
- Try to begin your commute earlier than normal during the school year, especially during the first few weeks of school. Leave fifteen minutes earlier and avoid as much rush hour as possible.
- Don’t honk your horn, rev your engine or do anything to rush or scare a pedestrian who is walking in front of your car, even if you have the legal right-of-way.
By driving carefully no matter how poorly other motorists or pedestrians are behaving, you can help ensure the safety of yourself and those around you. If have been involved in an accident or simply need some vehicle maintenance this fall for going back to school, please call Premier Coach Works today for a free quote on your vehicle.