5 safety tips for back-to-school driving

children getting on a school bus for first day back-to-school

Summer adventures are coming to an end and kids across the country are getting ready for the new school year ahead — and so are all the bus drivers and child chauffeurs (a.k.a. parents). When you hit the road on the first day of school (and all the days after that), keep these tips in mind for a safe ride:

1. Get in the zone. Whenever you’re driving near a school, be aware of posted school zone speed limits. These limits exist to make sure children and other pedestrians make it to school safely. Some municipalities enforce school zone limits even when signs are not present, so be sure to learn your local laws.

2. Watch for crossing guards. When you see a crossing guard start to cross the road (usually with a brightly coloured vest and stop sign in tow), come to a complete stop to allow children to cross safely. Proceed with caution once the crossing guard returns to the sidewalk and lowers the stop sign.

3. Beware of school buses. When you see a school bus, keep a safe distance behind it and prepare for frequent stops. No matter what side of the road you’re on, stop as soon as the red lights start flashing or the stop sign swings out to the side, and don’t hit the gas until the lights turn off and the driver moves the stop sign back to its original position. Watch for stragglers as you carefully pick up speed.

School buses built after January 1, 2005 now have amber and red upper flashing lights at the front and back.
➜ Flashing upper amber lights indicates that the bus is slowing down – drivers need to proceed with caution and slow down.
➜ Flashing upper red lights and/or the bus stop arm extended out indicates that the bus has stopped – drivers must come to a complete stop. (Read more here )

4. Keep your eyes peeled. Kids move quickly and aren’t always as careful or mindful about traffic as we might like them to be, so keep an eye out for children who are waiting to cross the street, getting out of cars, or riding their bikes. Drive slowly and be prepared to stop suddenly if need be.

5. Be a good role model. Set a good example for your kids when driving them to school, friends’ houses, sports games, and everywhere in between. Take your time to get from point A to point B, follow the rules of the road, and don’t drive aggressively. Last but not least, don’t drive distracted. Not only is distracted driving dangerous, but if your kids see you doing it, they may think it’s okay to do the same when they learn to drive.

Did you know that many insurance companies reward safe drivers with extra discounts? If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed your car insurance policy, ask your licensed broker if you’re eligible for any of the top 10 car insurance discounts.

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