There are few things — if any — more important than our children’s safety. When you send a child off to school, you wholly expect them to return safely. Unfortunately, some folks out there willingly drive recklessly through school safety zones. While driving in school zones, it is important to adhere to all speed limits, avoid reckless actions, and watch crosswalks and sidewalks vigilantly.
If you feel your neighborhood or community requires school zone safety tips for drivers, know that you are not alone. Too many worried parents find themselves inundated by fear of their children’s safety while at school. It’s normal. Some drivers are simply bad behind the wheel.
To avoid serious injuries or worse, your community may need to better understand school zone safety and how to practice safe driving in school zones!
School Zone Laws
First off, what are school zones? To ensure the utmost safety of students and faculty members, school zones enact traffic safety around schools by severely reducing the speed limit around school zones in the immediate area during specific hours of the day. Most school zone hours begin shortly before the school day and end shortly after.
So, what is the speed limit near schools? Most areas require drivers to go between 15 miles-per-hour and 25 miles-per-hour, though it depends on your city or county.
It’s important to adhere to the speed limit in school zones. For starters, speeding near a school zone, or outright ignoring school zone laws opens the driver up to serious legal repercussions. The driver may be subject to a fine and ticket, or they could spend time behind bars, depending on the severity of their offense and any past offenses.
School Zone Safety Tips
From dropping your children off to picking them up in the afternoon, or with how busy school zones are daily, what with buses and cyclists clogging the road, understanding school zone safety tips, alongside adhering to the speed limit in school zones, can save lives.
1. Do not pass a bus from behind.
It is illegal to pass a school bus from behind, especially one loading and unloading children. Many children lose their lives each year because careless drivers speed past a school bus while the kids attempt to cross the road.
2. Do not block crosswalks.
When you bring your vehicle to stop, avoid blocking crosswalks at all costs. Children use crosswalks outside of the school daily, and vehicle blocking the path forces them to move around the vehicle, into the path of oncoming traffic.
3. Reduce your speed in school zones.
It is especially important during school zone hours to reduce your speed limit. Most residential roadways use 30 miles-per-hour to 35 miles-per-hour as their standard rate of speed. In a school zone, it is half of that or less. Do yourself a favor and watch for the warning signs indicating a slower school zone speed limit.
School Zone Traffic Safety Solutions
Surely you have noticed an abundance of traffic safety solutions implemented in school zones. Local government, law enforcement, and even the school district themselves invest a lot of money in ensuring drivers adhere to school zones.
Their safety investments include:
- School Bus Stop Ahead Signs
- School Speed Limit Signs
- End School Zone Signs
- School Pedestrian Crossing Signs
And of course, if the school district hires a crossing guard, as many do these days, they invest in stop-and-go hand-held paddles designed to slow and halt traffic in front of the school.
While signage is nice and does prove useful in slowing traffic throughout school zones, a big part of keeping children safe while loading and unloading buses or crossing the street for pick-up lies with the driver of every vehicle passing through the area.
If you are that driver, remember the general rules of the road. Do not speed, especially in residential areas. Do pay attention to your surrounding area. We are all taught in driving school to keep our eyes on the road and to scan the areas ahead and to the side regularly to ensure no one runs in front of the vehicle or for when the car ahead abruptly stops. Rules such as these help immensely in school zones.
While driving through a school zone, pay attention to the signs on the road. Many school zone speed limit signs include flashing yellow lights adorning a white sign with the lowered speed limit in bold, black lettering. Pay attention to this sign and reduce your speed limit accordingly.
Together, we can all do our part to keep children safe by following school zone laws and rules. Transline helps by providing high-quality signs and traffic safety solutions for school districts!