What are your best driving tips now that the kids are back to school?
That is a great question because September is Safe Driving Awareness Month and I’m quite sure this coincides with back-to-school month by design. As summer weather continues, many children are out walking to school and back so this is a time to be vigilant, especially in areas near schools.
Be alert as you enter school zones and look for crossing guards. Crossing guards are town employees giving them policing power to stop or slow traffic down in school zones, putting their own safety at risk.
Here are tips for back to school driving:
- Slow down as you approach schools or cross-walks. Two-thirds of drivers exceed the posted speed limit. When you’re on main or side roads in cities and towns, keep your speed at the limit or slightly lower.
- Obey signs—when you approach a stop sign, come to a full stop and look in all directions before proceeding. If you see a sign posted that you’re approaching a school zone, drive defensively and watch for children.
- Stay Alert and avoid distractions—the biggest one being your cell phone, which we address on a regular basis. NO reading texts or texting. If you don’t have a blue-tooth, get one. Keep both hands on the wheel at all times. That’s one of the most exciting features of the newer vehicles, that you can answer your phone (or change the radio) without taking your hands off the wheel. Avoid eating, grooming, talking on the cell, and all those things people do while driving.
- Watch for children between parked cars. When approaching the school zones, watch for young children, who often dart out to get on or off the bus, or who dash over to their parents’ vehicles when they arrive. Pay particular attention at intersections.
- Always stop for school buses as they let children on or off. Do not tailgate school buses, or any vehicle. When you see the school bus flashing yellow lights, be prepared to stop.
- Allow extra travel time whenever possible. You know the pressure—we’ve all felt it – when you’re running late for work, school or an appointment. We can feel our heart race while we watch the clock. We may try to rush through yellow lights and cut corners wherever possible to get there faster. With school buses rolling and extensive road construction going on throughout the area, allow extra time. You may want to experiment with alternate routes to avoid construction areas or school zones. Schedules are getting ironed out. Keep that in mind as it will settle down as bus schedules and routines get solidified.
- Use extra caution, especially in bad weather. On rainy days, with windshield wipers on, don’t forget the new law is that your lights must also be on. In rain and snow, drive at or below the speed limit. Be sure daylight running lights are always on. Just be sure to turn them off when you reach your destination if your model does not automatically shut off day lights.
All of us at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion wish you a very happy and safe school year.