Early School Sessions Increase Summer Driving Challenges

Summer might not yet be over, but kids are already strapping on their backpacks and headed back to the classroom for another year of learning.

For drivers, that means areas around schools will be teeming with children departing busses and crossing intersections every morning and afternoon.

“Back-to-school time means it’s time to remain attentive behind the wheel,” said Phil Telgenhoff, field senior vice president of Allstate Insurance Company in California. “Getting caught will cost a lot. So slow down in school zones—not for fear of getting a ticket, but for the safety of children.”

While drivers should be on high-alert in school zones, safety experts stress that students should be extra vigilant in these areas as well. 

“The best way for parents and caregivers to educate their children on road safety is to talk openly and plainly about it and set a good example,” said Rhonda Craft, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety.

Here are some back-to-school safety tips for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians, courtesy California’s OTS:

Tips for pedestrians and children departing school busses:

  • Stay five giant steps away from the road and wait until the driver lets you know that it is safe to board.
  • Respect the driver and minimize distracting behaviors. 
  • Keep your limbs and head in the vehicle at all times. 
  • When exiting the bus, look out for cars and immediately move out of the roadway.
  • Stay on the sidewalk. If one doesn’t exist, walk facing traffic.
  • Look both ways before crossing
  • Always use a crosswalk if one is available, otherwise cross at an intersection. 
  • Obey traffic signals when crossing the street. 

Safety tips for drivers and cyclists in school zones: 

  • Be vigilant in school zones, children will dart into the street without looking.
  • Don’t text, eat, or groom yourself while driving in a school zone. 
  • Do not pass a stopped school bus that’s either collecting children or dropping them off. 
  • Get familiar with the safest route, its traffic signals, and signs. 
  • Always wear a properly fitted helmet if cycling or skateboarding. 
  • Stop and look both ways before crossing any street or intersection.