This week marks the return to school for most children and older students - and with it the excitement, anticipation, and hectic mornings of readjusting to school routines for most families. Even if you are not a parent or a student, the return of the school year means some changes to your life, and therefore a reminder about school zone safety is warranted.
First and foremost, avoid distracted driving (at all times, but especially in school zones). If you've been paying attention to the news lately you'll know that the police have been cracking down on distracted driving. Typically we think of texting or speaking on our phones without a hands-free device, but distraction can also come in the form of eating, drinking a cup of coffee or putting on makeup while driving. If you're distracted, your reaction time to that child darting out into the road or the car stopping suddenly in front of you will be much lower. Distracted driving is now listed as the number one killer on our roads ahead of impaired driving, and the already hefty fines may even increase if the provincial government's new bill passes later this year.
The start of the new school year also means school zone speed limits will be in effect, so be aware of those. Also be sure to obey crossing guards and be extra vigilant of areas where children are playing or walking in case one of them darts into the road.
Even if you don't live near a school, it's probably wise to allow extra time for your drive. The start of the school year will mean new or different commutes for many families, which could have a knock-on effect to yours.
If you do have children, now is an excellent time to remind them about pedestrian and cycle safety. Revisit our blog post
from this time last year for more school safety tips.