For many parents, the start of a new school year is a glorious thing. The kids are back on a schedule after running wild all summer. Whether it’s more time in the gym or at the office, it’s wonderful to have a few extra hours to yourself after those long summer months.
While parents might be eager to get their crazy kids out of the car and through the school doors, it’s important to take extra caution on the roads during this time of year. As kids crack open their new textbooks, we suggest you do a little reading yourself. Here are our top back-to-school driving tips.
Beware of walkers and bikers
In most school districts, kids who live nearby don’t take the bus. That’s why many kids end up walking to school each day, with or without a parent. While the weather is still warm, there will be many children riding their bikes, too. When it comes to elementary and middle school aged students, pedestrian and bike safety isn’t the first thing on their minds.
Young bikers are more concerned with riding fast and doing tricks, not looking both ways and stopping at crosswalks. Drivers must keep an eye on driveways and alleyways since kids tend to zoom from these areas in a hurry. Also, be sure to come to a full halt and look both ways at stop signs since kids likely won’t do the same.
Keep your distance
School buses make frequent stops. The rule-of-thumb is to keep the 10 feet surrounding a school bus clear. Never pass a school bus when it’s stopped to pick up or drop off children!
Beyond school buses, cars will be making more stops, too. With crossing guards halting traffic at a moment’s notice, the last thing you want to do is tailgate the car in front of you.
Mind your manners
Being courteous can go a long way when you’re in a school zone. Remember that honking, yelling and other aggressive behavior might scare a youngster. Even if you have the right-of-way, try and refrain from honking or revving your engine.
Also keep in mind that you should limit passing when around a school. Many times, the car in front is slowing to avoid a pedestrian or bicyclist. By passing, you run the risk of striking whatever (or whomever) that car was trying to avoid.
Set carpool rules
If you’re part of a carpool (and even if you’re not) make sure your kids understand the importance of seatbelts. More importantly, be sure that all other carpool drivers enforce the same rules and set a good example. You might even want to assess the other drivers yourself. Do this by taking a ride with other driver and take mental notes of their driving habits. If the driver texts or is aggressive while driving, perhaps you should join a different carpool.
Brushing up on your safety tips each school year is just as important as your back to school shopping. Stay safe on the roads this year, and don’t forget to enjoy that extra time away from the kids!