Wow, I can’t believe how fast summer just went by! Some of you may have taken time off from work, traveled, enjoyed your families and forgotten about school. Well, it’s back!
As summer is coming to a close, some schools have already begun, and many will start soon. Whether your children are attending elementary school, middle school or high school, make sure you become familiar with the traffic patterns surrounding the campus and the laws pertaining to school zones.
The California Highway Patrol wants everyone to arrive and leave school safely. Here are some tips:
▪ In a designated school zone, the speed limit is 25 mph, regardless of the posted speed limit. This is when children are present at the beginning of school, during the noon recess and at the end of the day. Children are the least predictable pedestrians and the most difficult to see. The speed limit also applies when approaching or passing any school grounds not separated from the highway by a fence, gate or other physical barrier while the grounds are in use by children and the highway is posted with a standard school warning sign.
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▪ Stop for the school bus. The area 10 feet around a bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit. Stay alert. Children walking to or from their bus are usually very comfortable with their surroundings. This makes them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street. Motorists are required to stop when the school bus activates the red flashing lights and/or the attached extendable “STOP” sign. Keep in mind this requirement applies to drivers on both sides of an undivided highway.
▪ Wear your seat belts, and make sure your kids do, too. Before leaving the house, no matter how near the school is, make sure all passengers in the vehicle are properly restrained. The old saying “It’s just around the corner” can get you into a lot of trouble. Tickets get expensive, and not properly restraining yourself and your children could jeopardize their safety. It only takes a moment.
▪ Parking is always a huge problem in and around schools while dropping off and picking up kids. Double-parking happens way too often and ends up frustrating other motorists as well as other parents dropping off and picking up their children. I have seen many parents double-park and run into the school to take their children to class. Please do not park in the “dropoff-only zone.” Do not park in front of a driveway. Motorists that park blocking driveways to residences can be cited and their vehicles towed away at the owner’s expense.
▪ Please put your cellphone down. You are not only endangering your life but everyone else around you. This is not only a violation but a dangerous distraction. Many children are attempting to cross the street, and when you are on your cellphone you are distracted to a point that you may not see a child crossing the street in front of you.