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Back to School Traffic

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They’re Baaaack

It’s almost that time again; school is back in session. In fact, for some districts, it’s already that time. This may mean a number of things for the average adult. Number one, you may have kids that are out on the streets in your neighborhood, thus giving you a reason to be concerned about other drivers and your driving as well. Two, your route to work is peppered with bus stops, school zones, or other potential driving hazards that give you a reason to pause, drive slower, or risk being late to your job. Finally, your awareness is lessened because there hasn’t been an issue with school children being out and about during your commute to work.

Top Tips for Staying Safe

Whether it’s been a good summer for you or not, it’s time to get back to the grind of the school year and do what you can to keep your kids and/or other people’s children safe. Residential roads, driveways, and main thoroughfares are soon going to be packed with kids ranging from five to eighteen trying to get to school safely. It is our responsibility to do whatever we can to make that happen, so here are some tips and tricks to make it easier.

  1. Leave Early – If you live on a popular bus route or if you’re not sure if that’s the case, leave a little bit early in order to allow yourself enough time. School bus schedules coincide with the most popular commute times and multiple stops and starts can really add up. Give yourself some leeway and leave your house fifteen minutes early. This ensures that you get there in time and also that you’re not making any stupid decisions regarding school bus laws.
  2. Inform Yourself – Don’t know the school bus laws? If you’re unsure what’s legal and what isn’t then it’s your responsibility as a licensed driver to educate yourself as to what those laws are. Do you know when you have to stop? Can you pass a school bus? Find out before you’re in the situation!
  3. Pay Attention – There’s never a good time to text while you’re driving, but this – FOR SURE – isn’t it. With newly active school zones, speed limits are going to be more strictly enforced and crosswalks are going to be packed with children crossing the street. Keep your eyes on the road at all times and pay attention to your surroundings. Children’s lives are at stake.
  4. Slow Down – Sure, you know your favorite route to work like that back of your hand and you can drive it almost on autopilot, but sometimes bus stops and school zones get added for the new school year. What may have been a quick and easy commute could have changed overnight, so slow down and take your time.
  5. Familiarize Yourself – If you know you live within several active school zones and you know that bus stops and crosswalks coincide with your drive home, get familiar with the school schedules. This way, you won’t be surprised if a bus is stopping repeatedly in front of you. You may want to leave a couple minutes early to miss the rush, adjust your work schedule, or take a different way home.
  6. Be a Good Neighbor Chances are, your neighborhood is brimming with children that have just been sprung from the rigors of school and are probably a little bit crazy. Be a good neighbor and pay attention to what’s going on in our own neighborhood. No one wants to be at fault for a tragic accident and kids are extremely unpredictable, especially after they’ve been cooped up all day. Be more careful.

It may be inconvenient for you, but you need to be slightly more aware as a driver during this time of year. If you’re late for work, you don’t want to be caught overtaking a school bus or worse because you didn’t get up in time. It’s not the kids’ fault that you’re running late. So take your time, go the speed limit, stay aware, and keep your wits about you no matter how maddening school traffic and crossing guards may be.

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