Back-to-School Road Rules
For the most part, even people who don’t have kids know there are special rules of the road governing school zones. However, after a couple months of school bus free commutes to work and a distinct lack of crossing guards policing school zone crosswalks, the advent of the school year can throw off even the most meticulous driver.
Here’s a run-down of the school bus and school zone road rules to help keep you and our scholars – from tiny to tall – safe.
- Know Your School Bus Protocol. Considering there are over 9,000 school buses in Ontario that transport upwards of 800,000 students, it’s imperative you understand how to drive safely with buses on the road. Most drivers know not to pass a stopped school bus when the stop-arm is out and/or lights are flashing, since that’s when children are usually crossing the road, but it is also worth mentioning that you should always be careful when driving around school buses in general, with a particular attention given to minding your speed.
It’s not them, it’s you.
School bus drivers have to pass grueling tests to become a driver, and before every trip, they are required to perform a 16-point exterior and 28-point interior check. With these rigorous procedures in effect, it isn’t surprising that the main cause of accidents involving school buses is the other drivers, with failure to yield coming in as the top reason. Other causes include following too closely, speeding and losing control.
- Pay Attention to School Zone Speeds. And not just in the morning and afternoon. Kids are out at recesses, lunch hour and for classes and activities before and after school, so you should heed the speed limit and drive cautiously at all times. Kids aren’t always going to be looking out for you, so take it upon yourself to look out for them.
- All Hail the Crossing Guard. You should always obey crossing guards. It doesn’t matter if a green light says go, if a crossing guard tells you to stop, you’d better put on the brakes. A child you can’t see may still be crossing, or about to cross the road. Don’t drive on until the crossing guard is completely out of the intersection and his/her stop sign is down.
- Expect the Unexpected. If you’ve been following the Pokemon Go craze, it won’t surprise you that it’s not only small children who dart into oncoming traffic. Even if you’re doing the speed limit, you can still hit a student. Make sure you are fully focussed in school zones. Avoid passing and keep your eyes on the road.
If keeping kids (and yourself) safe is not reason enough to abide by the rules, then maybe your bank account can convince you: transgressing from these rules can cost you up to $2,000 and six demerit points, so slow down, pay attention and drive carefully. School’s in!