School is back in session and that means school zone signs are flashing across Charlotte. Whether you’re trying to commute to work or you’re dropping of your own children, staying safe is paramount. Too many kids get hurt just going to and from school each year.
Keep these school zone safety tips in mind.
School Zones and Crosswalks
- Familiarize yourself with the school zones along your route. During the summer the lights may be off, but once school starts again, you need to slow down.
- Even if you can’t see any children or crossing guards, obey the traffic lights and speed zones.
- Never block a crosswalk. When you do, you force pedestrians and bicyclists to move into the street to go around here. This can be extremely dangerous for them.
- Respect a crossing guard’s authority. If they tell you to stop and wait, obey them. Their only job is to protect everyone crossing the street.
- Reduce driving distractions. Put down your phone. Turn down your music. Pay attention to the road.
- Never pass a stopped school bus, especially when it’s loading or unloading students. Remember, kids aren’t cautious, and they may run out in front unexpectedly. You need to watch for them.
- If the lights on a bus are flashing and the stop arm is out, always stop. In a divided highway, you can continue forward as long as the bus is going the other direction. If the road is not divided, all lanes of traffic must stop.
- Stop far enough behind a bus that children have room to safely enter and exit. There’s no need to be as close as possible to a bus.
Pedestrians and Bicyclists
- Expect high traffic in a school zone. Keep your eyes open for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Watch for them at intersections. They may not be looking for you, so you need to look out for them.
- At a turn or intersection, allow a pedestrian or bicyclist to turn or cross ahead of you. Wait until they’re through the crosswalk before driving through.
- When you pass bicyclists riding in the same direction, slow down and give them three feet of space on one side.
Dropping Off and Picking Up Kids at School
- Do not block bus or vehicle exits during drop off. This backs up traffic and can be unsafe for everyone.
- Do not drop your children off in the street or across the street. Always pull into the designated area at the school.
- Consider carpooling to reduce the number of cars on the road.
- Do not double park or park in non-designated spaces to drop your kids off.
- During pick up, pull into designated areas.
- If the pick up line extends into the street, stay in the appropriate lane so traffic can move safely around the line.
Before you find yourself in a busy school zone, make sure your auto insurance is up-to-date. We hope you never have an accident but if you do, make sure you have enough insurance to protect yourself.