The month of August is one that brings eager anticipation. Fall is around the corner, which means cooler weather and of course, school is about to begin (or in the case of Oklahoma City Public School, it has already begun). Students and teachers are amassing new school supplies, choosing their ‘first day of school’ outfits, and hopefully getting up earlier as summer ends in preparation. For those not directly affected by the school schedule, summer traffic is often a pleasant experience. If you live anywhere near the University of Oklahoma, you probably can attest to smoother traffic offered by summer vacation. With fewer cars and buses on the roads, travel time to work is often reduced. That season is coming to a close. It is time to be mindful of back to school traffic, children, and buses.
Back to School Driving Tips:
- Allow more space between you and a school bus when traveling behind one. Because school buses are picking up or dropping off children, it most likely will be stopping often. You certainly do not want to be riding too close behind a bus when it stops. Never pass a bus from behind while it is loading or unloading children – this is true whether traveling behind the bus or on the opposite side of the road coming towards it. While bus road rules for different types of roads situations vary depending on your state, it is important to put the safety of the children ahead of your own desire to get somewhere quickly. Always practice patience and caution.
- Most bus-related child deaths happen while children are walking to or from the bus stop. For this reason, it is important to travel slowly through school zones and heed the directions of the school patrol officer and the crossing guard. Be alert around playgrounds for children darting across the street. During the hours after school lets out, be more cognizant of your surroundings, especially around cars parked on the sides of the roads, where children may unknowingly dart out in front of you at a moment’s notice.
- Patients is a virtue, and one that cannot be stressed enough when children are involved. When picking up or dropping children off at their schools, again, patience is essential. With all drivers being in a hurry, frustrations can quickly flare, but remember to stay calm. Follow the individual school guidelines for traffic patterns, wait your turn and only drop off in safe, designated areas. Carpooling is a great way to reduce the number of cars in line.
- Another thing to keep in mind as school beings is the young drivers on the road. Many high schoolers are now on the roads daily driving to and from school, as well as to after-school jobs. They lack experience and maybe sometimes the best judgment. Their young minds don’t always consider risky behaviors as truly deadly – this includes texting and driving. Keep your eyes peeled for teen drivers and be cautious around them on the roadway.
Patience and awareness are the two key things we must keep in mind as the school year begins. Plan for more traffic on the road so you will not feel the need to speed of disobey traffic rules. Driving slowly and staying alert will not only help you stay safe on the road, but it could also save a life.