Back to school: 7 vital traffic safety reminders
Lakota Local students go back to class beginning Aug. 16. The start of school means travelers can expect to see more vehicles and pedestrians on residential streets, and an uptick in the number of young drivers on the roads during peak morning and afternoon drive times.
For these reasons, it is especially important that everyone keep the following traffic safety reminders top-of-mind now and throughout the school year.
Yield for pedestrians
Students of all ages walk to and from school for classes and extracurricular activities. Motorists must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Pedestrians should also be observant, watch for vehicles and obey crossing guards when present. Pedestrians should always use crosswalks to cross and follow traffic pedestrian signals at intersections. Walkers are advised to wear brightly colored clothing, especially at dusk and dawn.
Obey school zone speed limits
Please slow down while driving through school zones during arrival, dismissal, and lunch or recess times. The speed limit is 20 mph on streets around schools and the same applies on school property if limits aren’t already posted. Look for signage marked with speed limits, school zone hours, and flashing lights on public streets and in surrounding school parking lots.
Be mindful of blind spots
If you see a school bus, it’s probably safe to assume children are nearby; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean kids or bus drivers can see you. School buses have a 10-foot blind spot surrounding the vehicle on all sides known as the “danger zone.” Vehicles and people in the danger zone are essentially invisible to bus drivers. Keep cars out of the danger zone and teach kids to stay away, too.
Know when to stop
Vehicles are required to stop for school buses when its lights are flashing and its stop sign is deployed. On two-lane roads, all vehicles must stop. On multi-lane roads in Ohio (four or more lanes), only vehicles traveling in the same direction as the bus are required to stop. In any instance, it never hurts to slow down, look twice and use extra caution any time you approach or pass a school bus.
Know where to drop
Ohio law says parked vehicles may not be within 30 feet of a traffic signal or stop sign. Never park or stop on a sidewalk, in an intersection or within 10 feet of a fire hydrant. It’s best to drop students off on the same side of the road as their destination. Indicate your intentions to other drivers by using your flashing hazard lights. Children at bus stops should wait for a bus driver’s signal before crossing.
Leave extra time for travel
If you or your teen drives to school, make sure to wake up early enough to arrive for class or practice with plenty of time to spare. Rushing leads to accidents. This goes for all commuters – traffic will be significantly heavier on Township roads during the school year, regardless of where you are heading, so please plan ahead.
Never text and drive
No matter the season, distracted driving is deadly. Adults and teens alike may have the urge to text while driving but it’s never safe. If using your cell phone is essential, hand it to a passenger and ask him/her to text for you, or pull off the road into a safe parking space and put the car in park before ever taking your eyes and attention off the road.