August is the month that every student from preschool to college heads back to school to continue their education. For us drivers, it is important for us to be ready for the influx of drivers on the road, school buses, and pedestrians. With over 1,700 operating schools in Colorado alone, you are likely to find yourself in a school zone at some point whether you have a child attending or not. That being said, here are some tips and tricks to keep everyone safe on the road this school year.
For ease for you and the entire community, most schools have provided their parents with specific procedures for pick-up and drop off to make this process as seamless as possible. Try visiting your schools website or talk to an admin/teacher for instructions. For the safest option as a parent trying to pick-up or drop off their student, try to do so on the same side of the school instead of asking the student(s) to cross the street unless instructed to do otherwise. Finally, to reduce traffic and congestion try to coordinate carpooling with neighboring families.
When following behind a school bus please be sure to keep 20 feet minimum behind the bus as they make frequent stops. This will provide you with more time to stop when they pull out their stop sign and red blinking lights. In addition, when approaching a bus from the opposite direction in a residential area with no median please proceed with caution and provide 20 feet when stopped to allow the students to cross in front of the bus. Finally, please do not proceed until the lights and stop sign are no longer present. Did you know that it is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus when stopped and according to AAA 20% of drivers admit to doing so.
First, the biggest precaution you can take when it comes to school zones is to research your daily commute and see what time any schools get in or out that may be on your path. This will allow you to potentially avoid the drop off and pick up traffic and to be knowledgeable of when to expect an access amount of pedestrians and bicyclists. Of course, you should always use extra precaution when in school zones as students also have lunches, early days, and different schedules.
In addition, be sure not to block crosswalks to avoid students having to move into moving traffic to go around your vehicle. Respect pedestrian crossing signals/signs, school patrol officers, and school zone speed limits (approx 20mph in Colorado.)
Treat bicyclists as having the same rights and responsibilities as you and your vehicle. If you are following a bicyclist in the street whether residential or not it is safest to give them space and follow slowly. However, if you are going to pass them, slowly move around them with a minimum of 3 feet between you and the cyclists. Whether the bicyclist is turning right and you are trying to turn right or you are trying to take a left and the biker is approaching the opposite direction, all these scenarios ask you to wait and let the bicyclist go. So when in doubt give the bicyclist the right away. When considering bicyclist in school zones and residential areas please use extreme caution for unexpected movements, crossings, and entrances into the roads from driveways as students and children are new to riding and do not always know or follow the laws.
From all of us here at Quick-Set Auto Glass, drive safely out there!