Remember to safely share the roads with school buses, pedestrians and bicyclists, and provide children with the necessary knowledge to stay safe at school. Understand your child’s limitations. They may not be able to judge speed and distance from oncoming traffic accurately. They are also smaller and harder for drivers to see. Children learn through experience, teach them the safe way to walk to school.
Before your children head out, remind them of these year-round safety tips:
Safety Tips for Students
- Always cross street corner where there are traffic signals, designated crosswalks and stops signs.
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
- Never cross the street distracted. This includes while on an electronic device, texting, talking on a phone or with headphones on.
- Always walk on sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing oncoming traffic
- Always look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
- Beware of cars that are turning or backing up.
- Never run out into the street or cross between parked cars. Darting into the street accounts for the majority of child pedestrian fatalities.
- Never walk to or from school alone if you are a child, always stay with a school friend, family member, or trusted neighbor.
- If walking when it’s dark or hard to see, wear bright-colored clothes, and carry flashlights or wear reflective gear.
- Never wait for the school bus in the roadway! Learn the safety rules for waiting at the bus stop, getting on and off the bus, and riding the bus.
Safety Tips for Parents
No cell phone use while driving!
Keep your eyes focused on the road and get off your phone!
No calling or texting while driving in the school zone!
Please follow these safety tips taken from the National Safety Council website.
If You’re Dropping Off
Schools often have very specific drop-off procedures for the school year. Make sure you know them for the safety of all kids.
The following apply to all school zones:
- Don’t double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles
- Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school
- Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school
Share the Road with Students
- Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic
- In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection
- Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign
- Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas
- Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way
- Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
- Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way
Share the Road with School Buses
- Never pass a bus from behind – or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road – if it is stopped to load or unload children
- If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop
- The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus
- Be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks
Share the Road with Bicyclists
- When passing a bicyclist, proceed in the same direction slowly, and leave 3 feet between your car and the cyclist
- When turning left and a bicyclist is approaching in the opposite direction, wait for the rider to pass
- If you’re turning right and a bicyclists is approaching from behind on the right, let the rider go through the intersection first, and always use your turn signals
- Watch for bike riders turning in front of you without looking or signaling; children especially have a tendency to do this
- Be extra vigilant in school zones and residential neighborhoods
- Watch for bikes coming from driveways or behind parked cars
- Check side mirrors before opening your door
- Check out our Respect is a Two Way Street safety campaign.
Respect the Crossing Guards
School crossing guards play an important role in the lives of children who walk or bicycle to school.
- Crossing guards help children safely cross the street at key locations.
- Teach your child to pay attention to the crossing guards whistle, stop sign, and hand signals.
- Drivers need to remember it is the safe crossing of children in the crosswalk that is the priority.