Sadly, the end of summer is near and you just have time to squeeze in a couple more days of fun in the sun. It is time for everyone to get back to work and our children to head back to school. With everyone getting back into the work and school routine, this means more traffic and the need to drive more defensively.
WHEN NEAR A SCHOOL REMEMBER TO SLOW DOWN
The legal speed limit is reduced when children are in school or on the playground after school. The California Driver Handbook says, “When driving within 500 to 1,000 feet of a school while children are outside or crossing the street, the speed limit is 25 mph unless otherwise posted”. Also, if the school grounds have no fence and children are outside, never drive faster than 25 mph. Some school zones may have speed limits as low as 15 mph. Always drive more carefully near schools, playgrounds, parks, and residential areas because children may suddenly dart into the street. Also, many children have not yet developed the ability to judge speeds and distances well enough to cross streets safely when cars are moving fast.
WHEN THE SCHOOL BUS HAS ITS LIGHTS FLASHING, YOU MUST TO STOP!
If a school bus has its red lights flashing YOU must stop and not pass the bus until the red lights stop flashing. The bus is loading and unloading children who may not always use the cross walk or make the best decisions when and where to cross the roadway.
According to a 2008 report by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHSTA), autumn is the most dangerous time of year for pedestrians, with 29 percent of pedestrian-related fatalities.
BE A DEFENSIVE PEDESTRIAN
As a pedestrian it is also your responsibility to protect yourself by obeying the rules if you are walking to and from school or your job. Make sure not to jaywalk, cross on a red light or the worst of all is texting while walking. If you are walking and texting you are putting your life in jeopardy in the same way you would if you are texting and driving. You are dangerously distracted. Teach your children never to cross the road in between parked cars or without using the cross walk or crossing guard. According to the Safe Routes to Schools organization, 33% of youth pedestrian crashes are attributed to kids darting out into the road. The NHTSA has educational material for Child Pedestrian Safety.
With the new school year starting, there will be more cars on the road and more pedestrians in the cross walks. Make sure to be aware of the increase congestion and slow down when you are anywhere near a school or bus stop.