Back To School Road Safety Tips For Drivers, Parents and Students
School is back and so is back-to-school traffic. Whether your kids are walking, biking, taking the bus, or driving to school, you want them to be safe. Here are some practical road safety tips for drivers, parents, and students.
Walking or Biking To School
If your child is walking or riding a bicycle to school, talk to them about road safety.
Walking to school:
- Stay on the sidewalk.
- When crossing roads, look both ways to spot oncoming cars. You’ve probably already taught this, but kids’ memories are short, so it’s worth repeating.
- Choose the safest route and tell them not deviate from it.
- Discourage the use of earphones. Kids wearing earphones don’t pay attention to their surroundings. They won’t hear oncoming traffic and they’ll be oblivious to any suspicious persons who may be out to harm them.
Only children over the age of 12 should be allowed to ride a bicycle to school. Here are a few rules they must follow:
- Always ride with the traffic going in the same direction.
- Be aware of cars and pedestrians at all times.
- Always wear a helmet. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reports that bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 48 percent, serious head injury by 60 percent, and traumatic brain injury by 53 percent.
- Explain to your child that bicyclists are expected to follow the same rules as motorists. This means stopping at traffic lights and stop streets and using hand signals to indicate when turning or crossing lanes.
Taking The School Bus
The school bus is the safest form of transport because it is the most regulated vehicle on the road. A large vehicle like a bus is also safer in a crash. Data from the National Safety Council on deaths from school bus-related crashes show that 70 percent were occupants of other vehicles and 17 percent were pedestrians. Only 6 percent were school bus passengers.
The biggest danger for kids is the area around the bus and crossing the road. Teach them the following rules:
- While waiting for the bus, stand at least six feet away from the curb.
- The bus stop is not a place to run, play, or chase other kids.
- Only step on and off the bus once it has come to a complete stop.
- Never walk behind the bus.
- Walk 10 feet in front of the bus to be visible to the bus driver.
Teens Driving To School
Once your teenager has the keys to a car, they’ll want to drive to school. Most parents feel anxious about this. Teens have less driving experience and are at a greater risk of being in a crash. Sit your teen down and have a serious discussion on road safety.
- Teenagers are notorious for engaging in distracted driving activities like texting while driving. Teach them to not text—or check social media—and drive.
- Reinforce the importance of wearing a seatbelt.
- Educate them about the rules of driving in school zones and near school buses.
Parents Driving Kids To School
If you drive your kids to school, keep the following in mind:
- If you live near a school, be cautious when backing out of the driveway.
- Don’t speed if you’re running late.
- Slow down and keep to the speed limit in school zones.
- Adhere to the school bus’s flashing lights — a yellow light indicates the bus is coming to a halt; a red light with extended arm means children are getting on and off and you MUST stop.
- Don’t make U-Turns, change lanes, or pass other vehicles while driving in a school zone.
- Be vigilant around the school’s drop-off area and pull away slowly.
When school starts, traffic on the road increases. Discuss road safety with your kids and consider taking a defensive driving course to sharpen your driving skills.