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Driving Safety Tips for Back-To-School Season

As drivers, we need to be extra vigilant around this time especially before and after school hours. Listed below, are a few reminders of what to watch out for and rules from The Ontario Ministry of Transportation:

School zones

  • Be mindful of crossing guard and school zones signs.
  • Obey speed limits. Be ready to stop when necessary.
  • When a school-crossing guard displays a red and white stop sign, you must stop before reaching the crossing and yield to pedestrians who are crossing. Drivers who don’t follow stopping requirements will receive a substantial fine and get three demerit points.
  • 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.
  • If you are dropping your teenager off at high school, keep in mind there might be newly licensed drivers in the area.

School buses

  • You must stop whenever you approach a stopped school bus with its upper alternating red lights flashing, regardless of whether you are behind the bus or approaching it from the front.
  • When approaching the bus from the front, stop at a safe distance for children to get off the bus and cross the road in front of you.
  • If you are behind the school bus, stop at least 20 metres away. Do not drive until the bus moves or the lights have stopped flashing.
  • Allow a greater following distance.
  • Don’t pass school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.
  • Never pass a bus from behind.
  • Traffic must stop if the red or yellow lights are flashing and extended stop arm is out.
  • Must obey school bus law on any type of road.

Pedestrian crossovers

  • Parents should teach their children to point their finger to indicate to drivers they want to cross before entering the roadway.
  • Drivers including cyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in the crossover.
  • You must not pass any vehicle within 30 metres of a pedestrian crossover.
  • Watch out for children riding their bikes to school.
  • Remember, children can unexpectedly dash across the street.

School parking lot

  • Watch out for children who may suddenly dart out in front of you.
  • No U-turns in parking lot.
  • When backing up or pulling into a free space make sure no children are in harm’s way.

With all the hustle and bustle of back-to-school preparation, safety concerns tend to be forgotten. Schedule a time to talk with your children about safety rules and make sure they understand how to cross roads safely. As a driver, pay close attention to your surroundings. Keep a cushion of space around your vehicle and be prepared for the unexpected. Re-fresh your memory with these defensive driving tips. For at least the first week, give yourself and your family extra time to arrive to your destination.

Happy Back-To-School!

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