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Back to School driving safety

With a new academic year about to begin, here’s a refresher course on back-to-school driving safety.

Holidays are almost over, yellow school buses are back on the road, and the kids are walking, cycling or being dropped off at school. With summer in the rear-view mirror, it’s time for Stettler and area drivers to gear up for back to school safety.

To help with the transition, Ford of Canada checked in with the RCMP and Public Safety Canada to provide the following safety tips and reminders to help everyone stay safe on the road this school year.

Sharing the road with young pedestrians: Slow down! Children crossing the road on their way to and from school can easily get distracted and step into harm’s way. Children are often out throughout the day at recess, lunch, and for outdoor activities, so it’s important to drive slowly throughout the entire day.

That text can wait: Drivers need to be vigilant and alert behind the wheel. Your fast reflexes could prevent an accident.

Don’t block the crosswalk: When stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, do not block the crosswalk. This way, you could force pedestrians to go around you; putting them in the path of moving traffic.

Take extra care: Drivers must take extra care to look out for children near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas

Sharing the road with school buses: Alternating flashing yellow or amber lights means a bus is slowing down to stop – you should do the same. A school bus with red lights flashing is stopped. The fine for passing a school bus with its red lights flashing will net you a hefty fine and six demerit points.

If you are following behind a bus, stay back further than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop if the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. The area 3 meters around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus.

Must Knows for Kids

Before crossing the road, point across the road to show drivers you want to cross; pause until the cars stop and you make eye contact with the drivers; proceed with your arm extended after all cars in all the lanes have stopped.

Distracted pedestrians are a higher risk so do not use electronics while walking.

No helmet – no bike! Children under the age of 18 must always wear a helmet when riding a bike.

Do’s and Don’ts of dropping off

Most schools have very specific drop-off procedures and it’s your job to make sure you know them. These rules apply in all school zones:

• Don’t double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles;

• Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school;

• Don’t idle vehicles for air quality concerns;

• Do try to carpool to reduce traffic.

“These are important reminders,” said Ross North, General Manager, Legacy Ford. “We are looking forward to a successful and safe school year ahead.”

Sources: RCMP, Public Safety Canada

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