As school has started this year, foot and vehicle traffic has increased on our streets and roadways. This time of year can be hectic for everyone whether you are walking or driving to work or school. It's important that parents speak to their children about how they are coming and going from school, whether it's walking, biking or taking the school bus. Helping your child be prepared for getting back to school will help prepare them for this coming school year and keep them safe.
Below are some safety tips for all using the roads this school year.
School speed zones: Children crossing the road on their way to and from school can easily be distracted and step into oncoming traffic. Following the school speed zones is one way to keep children safe. Should your school have a crossing guard, follow their instructions as at times the light may be green but there may still be children in the crosswalk. Be vigilant and alert when driving through the school zone in your community as this can mitigate the risk of injuring a child should they run out from behind parked cars or run to catch their bus.
School buses: When waiting for the school bus, children shouldn't stand too close to where the bus stops and should wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the doors are open before getting on. This is important during the winter months as our roads can become icy and this may cause the bus to slide when coming to a stop. If you are waiting to catch a bus, ensure children are aware of the danger zone. The danger zone is an area where the bus driver cannot see a child. If you are able to touch the bus you are in the danger zone and too close to the bus. If a child has to cross the street to get onto a school bus, ensure that the bus has come to a complete stop, the stop arm is out, and the red lights are flashing. When the bus driver knows it is safe to cross the road they will signal the child to cross. While crossing the road, walk do not run.
Walking or biking to school: When you are walking to school, walk on the sidewalk or if you have to walk on the street, walk facing traffic. If you have to cross any streets or road ways ensure that you are looking both ways prior to crossing the street. Never dart out in front of parked vehicles as there may be oncoming traffic. It is not recommended to text or talk on your cell phone while walking to school as this is a distraction. If your child is riding a bike to school, ensure that they are wearing a well fitted bike helmet. Parents, please ensure that your children are aware of the rules of the road and use hand signals when turning. It doesn't hurt to wear bright colored clothing so that you are easily visible to the other people using the road. If you are biking on a busy street, watch for people opening their car doors or pulling out from their driveway.