As summer winds down and the new school year begins, it’s the perfect time to remind drivers to slow down and watch out for kids near school and community safety zones.
According to a CAA 2019 poll, nearly 25% of drivers reported witnessing a near miss or collision in a school zone, more than half of which involved a child.
The poll also revealed 70% of Canadians said they have witnessed someone speeding in a school zone.
As kids return to school, we might see an even higher increase of traffic in those vulnerable zones, with kids being driven to and from school by their parents.
At CAA, the safety of our children and all road users is a top priority. Parents and guardians can also do their part by setting a good example. Here are some tips to keep kids safe when they’re heading off to school:
- Drive safely. If you’re driving your child to and from school, be cautious and avoid double parking or stopping on crosswalks, dropping off or picking up your kids on the opposite side of the street, and stopping in moving traffic as kids rush out. Be mindful and don’t drive up alongside or block a school bus to keep children from missing it.
- Plan the route to school. It’s a good idea to plan children’s route to school and do a few trial runs with them before school starts. Point out crosswalks, stop signs, safety hazards and homes of family and friends, in case of an emergency.
- Use the buddy system. If your kids are too young to walk on their own, have them buddy up with an older sibling or friend in your social circle. This will help them get to class safely and on time.
- Avoid distractions. During the commute to school, encourage your kids to keep mobile devices and tablets stashed in their backpacks. Electronics can be a dangerous distraction for kids on their walk.
- Make helmets a rule. Whether your children are riding a bike or scooter to school, make sure they wear a properly fitted helmet.
- Teach pedestrian safety essentials. Talk to your kids about traffic safety. Remind them to stop at stop signs, obey traffic lights, look both ways before crossing the street, make eye contact with drivers, avoid jaywalking and to stay on the sidewalk.
- Be ready for any weather. Don’t let cooler temperatures or light rain discourage your kids from walking or cycling to school. Dress your child appropriately for the weather and keep them visible with bright and reflective clothing.
Whether your children walk, bike, get driven or take the school bus, here are some more tips on how they can stay safe on their commute.