Back-to-School Safe Diving Tips

A yellow school bus driving through a residential neighborhood, meant to signal back-to-school safe driving tips.If you or your neighbor’s children haven’t already started school, they soon will. School buses full of children and students walking or biking to school are soon to spike road congestion and increase the number of hazards on your commute. The start of the school year can be a dangerous time for students, as drivers may still be in summer mode and not yet adjusted to the new traffic patterns. That’s why we’re here to provide a few key back-to-school safe driving tips that can keep you and your community protected.

Tips for Driving in the School Zone Area

Not only are there severe penalties for driving recklessly through a school zone, but you’re endangering children and yourself. It’s a no-brainer to drive slowly and cautiously through these areas, but here are some lesser-known tips on how to drive safely through a school zone:

  • Unload Children on School Property: If you’re driving or picking up children from school, make sure the students don’t need to cross the street to reach your vehicle.
  • Don’t Double Park: Double parking can limit visibility for both children and other drivers.
  • Be Ready to Stop Unexpectedly: Children often ride their bikes between parked cars or an unsuspecting child on their phone may not be looking when they cross the road.
  • Don’t Block a Crosswalk: Stopping in a crosswalk could potentially force children off the designated path and into traffic.

Other ways you can remain safe around schools is by becoming familiar with the street signs and heeding the instructions of the crossing guard. You can even help reduce the traffic around the school by carpooling.

How to Drive Safely When You Encounter a School Bus

Many bus-related incidents occur due to motorists passing buses as they are unloading children. Drivers on both sides of the road should stop when a bus stop sign is visible. Some other safety precautions around buses include:

  • Follow at a Further Distance: Allow a school bus more room than you would typically offer a passenger car. Leave at least three car lengths between you and the bus.
  • Steer Clear of Danger Area: The area 10 feet around a school bus presents the highest risk for an incident. Stop far enough away to allow children ample space to safely enter and exit the bus.
  • Be Aware of Flashing Lights: Yellow flashing lights on a school bus indicate an impending stop. Treat these lights as you would a yellow light at an intersection and gradually decrease your speed.

It’s important to practice your situational awareness before the school year to ensure you’re prepared for the sharp increase in hazards and road and foot traffic.

Back-To-School Safety Tips for Children

While much of the fault lies on the driver for incidents, it’s still important for students to practice safe travel. If you have children, teach them the importance of staying vigilant when boarding or getting off a bus. If seat belts are available, ensure they know to buckle up, and when crossing in front of a bus, make sure they know to walk at least 10 feet in front so the driver is able to see them. It can also be dangerous for children to be on their phones or have headphones in while crossing the road, so you should also teach them to put aside distractions until they’re safely at school.

Practicing these back-to-school safe driving tips can go a long way in keeping children and yourself protected. Despite these tips being most valuable when kids return to school, you should also be practicing safe driving throughout the year. Despite driving cautiously and avoiding distractions, accidents can still happen, which is why you need insurance. At TJ Woods Insurance, our agents can work with you to find the right auto insurance for your needs. If you’re looking for the best insurance options, contact us today.