School’s in. Drive safe.
If you haven’t already, you’ll soon start seeing big yellow buses, blinking “school zone” signs and sleepy kids huddled in the morning at bus stops.
It’s back to school time, time for motorists to be on the lookout for school children, and for parents and teachers remind students of basic safety rules, from safely getting to and from school, to safety while at school.
The National Safety Council offers the following tips and precautions for back-to-school safety for everyone, with regard to transportation safety, playground safety and more.
Walking to School
- Walk to school in a group and have a responsible adult with you.
- Walk on the sidewalk if one is available, and walk facing traffic when there is no sidewalk.
- Look left-right-left before crossing the street to see if cars are coming. If you are 11 or older, and no cars are coming, it’s safe to cross. If you’re 10 or younger, hold an adult’s hand.
- Walk, don’t run.
- Never dart out in front of a parked car.
Riding the Bus
- When the bus arrives, stand at least three giant steps away from the curb.
- Be sure the bus driver can see you, and you can see the bus driver.
- Never walk behind the bus.
- Find a seat and sit down. Don’t distract the bus driver.
- Don’t put your head, arms or hands out the window.
- At your stop, wait for the bus to stop completely, then get up from your seat and walk to the exit.
- Playground surfaces should be made of soft materials, such as wood chips, sad, pea gravel or shredded rubber. Avoid playgrounds with concrete, grass and dirt surfaces.
- Swings should be at least 24 inches apart, and there should only be two swings in each supporting framework.
- Slides should be well-anchored, have firm handrails and good traction on steps. There should be a bar at the top of the slide, forcing children to sit down before sliding down.
- Children under 4 shouldn’t play on climbing equipment, and older children should be watched while playing on horizontal ladders, monkey bars, climbing ropes, etc.
Back-to-School Safety for Drivers
- It’s illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to pick up or drop off students.
- Flashing yellow lights alert drivers that a school bus is preparing to load or unload children. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm means the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off.
- Traffic in both directions must stop on undivided roadways, when students are entering or exiting a school bus.
- Children are unpredictable, so be on alert.
- Never pass a school bus on the right.
- Do not block a crosswalk, or stop with any part of your vehicle over the crosswalk.
- In a school zone, when lights are flashing, you must yield to pedestrians crossing the road in a crosswalk, or at an intersection.
- Always stop when directed to by a school patrol sign, patrol officer or crossing guard.
Click here to see the Back-to-School Safety resource page with more tips, safety precautions and checklists for the upcoming school year.