As summer winds down and the school year begins anew, children will be travelling to and from their local schools.
Starting Tuesday, school zones are back in force and the posted limit is 30 kilometres an hour between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
“It’s crucial that drivers slow down in school zones, watch for crosswalks, and be mindful of school traffic safety patrollers,” said Dave Gibson, with the RCMP.
“Be alert and watch for kids riding to school on their bikes. We all want our children to arrive at school and home safely.”
Caution should also be exercised outside of school zones.
“School zones are good reminders to slow down but there will be still be children running around, darting in and out of traffic outside of school zones,” said Gibson.
Also, it’s not just children you have to watch out for, as school buses are back in service.
A school bus displaying its stop sign and flashing red lights means you must stop until the lights and signs are deactivated, regardless of which direction you are headed. School buses also tend to be an obvious indicator that children will be nearby.
“Members of the RCMP Central Okanagan Traffic Services and speed watch volunteers will be stepping up their presence, making school zones a priority,” said Gibson.
Tips for Pedestrians:
- Remove your headphones; put away your phone, MP3 player or other gadgets when crossing a street. Focus your full attention on the road so you can see, hear and respond safely.
- Use designated crossing points and follow pedestrian traffic signs and signals. Make eye contact with drivers, so you both know you see each other. The most common road safety error made by kids is not finding a safe place to cross. Teach your child to cross at intersections that have a pedestrian crossing light or a marked crosswalk whenever possible.
- Dress to be seen. Wear bright or light coloured clothing. In dark or bad weather, wear reflective material on clothes or accessories.
- Always walk on the inside edge of the sidewalk—away from the road. This way, you’re further away from the traffic. If there is no sidewalk, always walk facing traffic so you can see oncoming vehicles and drivers can see you.
- Be aware of parked vehicles in parking lots and on the road. Drivers may not see you between parked vehicles and you may not see them moving. Before crossing or walking through a parking lot, stop and look left-right-left around the parked vehicle and avoid taking unnecessary shortcuts through parking lots.
Tips for drivers:
When school is in session, a 30-km/h school zone speed limit is in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every school day, unless otherwise posted.
- Plan ahead and be alert. Driving routes with less traffic in the summer may now face congestion, so give yourself extra time to get to your destination. Take your time and don’t rush – especially through intersections. Look for children especially near or around crosswalks and intersections close to schools.
- When dropping off children in a school zone stop and allow them to exit onto the sidewalk side of the car. Never allow a child to cross mid-block.
- If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding for a pedestrian, so be prepared to stop.
- Always watch for pedestrians when you’re backing up. Before you get into your vehicle, make it a habit to walk around your vehicle to ensure no small kids are behind it. And remember,