As excited kids across Saskatchewan are heading back to classes this week, it's important to make sure they're doing so safely.
While much of that will be taught to kids by their parents, everyone who's on the road can also help out - by paying attention to the reduced speed limit in school zones.
Speed limits are often lowered at the start of September, often by 20-30 km/hour, and after a summer of not having to observe those, people may be unintentionally breaking that limit.
It's important to respect that speed limit, as JP Cullen, Chief Operating Officer of SGI Auto Fund explains.
“There is a lot going on within a school zone, we have students of all ages entering and exiting buses, playing on playgrounds, and walking or running in crosswalks and pedestrian crossings. Some of those students, as excited as they may be getting back to school and seeing their friends, may not be paying attention to vehicle traffic on the roads. That’s why drivers need to slow down and be aware of everything that is going on around them.”
Getting caught speeding through a school zone can often come with a punishment worse than being sent to the principal’s office.
A driver caught driving 20 km/h over the posted limit would be $310 for example.
As any teacher can tell you, kids don’t always follow directions and their attention to instruction may come and go. That’s why drivers need to be aware and watch for kids popping out from between parked vehicles or jaywalking. When school buses are stopped with amber lights flashing, drivers need to slow down and ensure it is safe before passing.
SGI also released some other details on how people can keep kids safe as the school year starts:
· Drive without distraction; leave the phone alone and just drive.
· Pay attention to pedestrian crossing lights and crossing guards.
· Exercise caution around school buses as they are loading and unloading.
· Avoid U-turns in school zones (some municipalities have by-laws that prohibit them).
· Don’t add to school zone congestion; obey the signs declaring “no stopping” zones.
· If you’re dropping kids off, do it on the same side of the street as the school.
· Never drop off your kids at crosswalks. Teach them to cross at crosswalks and not jaywalk.
· When they do cross, they should look both ways, make eye contact with the driver and wait for the vehicle to come to a complete stop.