It’s that time of year again! School is in session which means busier roads and more pedestrians crossing streets. As drivers, we need to be extra vigilant around this time especially before and after school hours. Listed below, are a few reminders of what to watch out for and rules from The Ontario Ministry of Transportation:
- Be mindful of crossing guard and school zones signs.
- Obey speed limits. Be ready to stop when necessary.
- When a school-crossing guard displays a red and white stop sign, you must stop before reaching the crossing and yield to pedestrians who are crossing. Drivers who don’t follow stopping requirements will receive a substantial fine and get three demerit points.
- Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic.
- If you are dropping your teenager off at high school, keep in mind there might be newly licensed drivers in the area.
- You must stop whenever you approach a stopped school bus with its upper alternating red lights flashing, regardless of whether you are behind the bus or approaching it from the front.
- When approaching the bus from the front, stop at a safe distance for children to get off the bus and cross the road in front of you.
- If you are behind the school bus, stop at least 20 metres away. Do not drive until the bus moves or the lights have stopped flashing.
- Allow a greater following distance.
- Don’t pass school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
- Never pass a bus from behind.
- Traffic must stop if the red or yellow lights are flashing and extended stop arm is out.
- Must obey school bus law on any type of road.
- Parents should teach their children to point their finger to indicate to drivers they want to cross before entering the roadway.
- Drivers including cyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in the crossover.
- You must not pass any vehicle within 30 metres of a pedestrian crossover.
- Watch out for children riding their bikes to school.
- Remember, children can unexpectedly dash across the street.
School parking lot
- Watch out for children who may suddenly dart out in front of you.
- No U-turns in parking lot.
- When backing up or pulling into a free space make sure no children are in harm’s way.
With all the hustle and bustle of back-to-school preparation, safety concerns tend to be forgotten. Schedule a time to talk with your children about safety rules and make sure they understand how to cross roads safely. As a driver, pay close attention to your surroundings. Keep a cushion of space around your vehicle and be prepared for the unexpected. Re-fresh your memory with these defensive driving tips. For at least the first week, give yourself and your family extra time to arrive to your destination.