Falling leaves and cooler nights can only mean one thing: It’s back to school time. That’s right, across the province, parents are cheering and kids are groaning as they make the move back into the school routine. So, dust off those driving skills and review these important back to school tips from ICBC (and pay attention class – there may be a quiz later):
Back to School Tips for Drivers:
- Every school day, unless otherwise posted, a 30 km/h speed limit is in effect in school zones from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In playground zones, a 30 km/h speed limit is in effect every day from dawn to dusk.
- Slow down and pay extra attention in school zones. Even though kids may dread going back to school – most of them are over the moon to see their friends again and may forget the rules of the road. Be their extra eyes and ears out there. Thanks.
- Leave your phone alone, and watch for children walking or cycling. Distraction is the leading factor for drivers in crashes with pedestrians and cyclists.
- Watch for school buses. When their lights are flashing, vehicles approaching from both directions must stop.
- Before getting into your vehicle, walk around it to make sure there are no small children hidden from view. Always look for pedestrians when backing up.
- Make sure your headlights, brake and turn indicator lights are clear, visible and in good working condition at all times. This can help pedestrians see you better.
- In residential areas, a ball or hockey net may mean that kids are playing nearby. Slow down and watch for children as they could dash into the street at any moment.
- There will be more traffic on the roads and busier busses starting this week, so give yourself some extra time for your commute.
Back to School Tips for Parents:
- If you drop off your child in a school zone, they should exit the car on the side closest to the sidewalk.
- If your child walks to school, practise their route with them ahead of time. Review street names and landmarks to orient them. Make a fun, interactive game out of guessing the correct traffic signs and meanings with your child along the route.
Teach your child the basics of crossing the street:
- Stop at the curb or edge of the road
- Look left and right for oncoming vehicles, then look left over your shoulder for vehicles that might be turning
- Make sure all vehicles have stopped before entering the road. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing, even if the walk signal is on
- When the intersection is clear, start crossing and keep looking for approaching vehicles
- Teach your child to walk on the inside edge of the sidewalk away from the road, so they’re further away from traffic. If there isn’t a sidewalk, they can walk facing oncoming traffic, so they can see approaching vehicles and make eye contact with drivers.
- Set a good example by not crossing mid-block or running to cross the street. Where possible, cross at intersections with a pedestrian crossing light or marked crosswalk. Avoid shortcuts through parking lots or around parked cars where it’s harder for drivers to see small children.
- Teach your child to put away electronic gadgets, cell phone and ear buds while walking or cycling so they can scan for approaching vehicles or hear traffic that may be hard to see.
- If your child will be outside at night or in poor weather, make sure they’re wearing bright clothes and reflective gear.
- Discourage play around or on railways. Only cross railway tracks at designated signals or signs and watch your step.
- Review the rules of the road with your children (as pedestrians and cyclists). Map out your child’s walking (or cycling) route to school ahead of time, so they know exactly where to go on their first day.
Back to School Tips for Teachers:
- Get the scoop on important road safety lessons you can teach in the classroom. ICBC has prepared road safety teaching resources for you free of charge.
Also, during the month of September, police will be cracking down on distracted driving and enforcing seatbelt regulations, so make sure you are buckled up and focused on the most important task at hand – acing the everyday road test.