As the back-to-school season approaches, it is important to keep transportation safety top of mind. Whether you are driving kids to school, getting them ready to catch the bus, or sending your teen driver out the door for the morning, there will be more congestion on and around the roads for all drivers, not just parents. At Dahl Consulting, our business is people, so we value safety for our workforce, both on and off the work site. Our employment experts share insights and tips to keep our employees, workforce, and business contacts safe on the roadways during this peak season of activity. In this article, we will cover the different transportation safety tips to keep in mind for your commute this fall!
Dropping off children at school in the morning can be chaotic at times, but to better prepare and ensure the safety of yourself, your family, and others, ensure that you are familiar with the rules and procedures of drop-offs at your child’s/children’s school. Below are some tips from the National Safety Council (NSC):
- Refrain from double parking, as it blocks visibility for children and vehicles.
- Don’t drop children off across the street from the school; wait in line and drop them off in the designated area.
- Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles in the drop-off area.
If you have additional questions about drop-off rules and best practices, contact your child’s/children’s school, as the rules can differ for each area and/or district.
Tips for Students
In addition to drop-off safety, educating students about school bus safety is important to keep them safe and prevent any accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) advises to teach kids to play it SAFE:
- Stay five steps away from the curb.
- Always wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the bus driver signals you to board.
- Face forward after finding a seat on the bus.
- Exit the bus after it stops and look left-right-left for cars prior to crossing the road.
Additionally, make sure that kids are aware of general road safety and have them ready to board the bus at least 5 minutes before the estimated arrival time.
Tips for Adults
It is critical for everyone on the road (not just parents of student-age children) to know the rules for school buses in order to keep students safe. Buses were specifically created to be safer than passenger vehicles, and stop-arm laws help to protect children from traffic. The rules for buses, according to the NHTSA, are as follows:
- Yellow Flashing Lights: Slow down; the bus is preparing to stop. There are likely to be kids nearby preparing to board the bus and/or accompanying parents.
- Red Flashing Lights: Stop your vehicle and wait at least 20 feet back from the bus. Children are boarding or exiting the school bus when red lights are flashing. Do not continue driving until after the red lights stop, the stop arm has been withdrawn, and the bus begins moving again. Keep an eye out for children and parents as you resume driving.
- No Lights: When no lights are flashing, it is still important to be aware of your surroundings, especially in the morning and late afternoons around school dismissal times. As a rule of thumb, always use extra caution when you see a school bus.
Sharing the Road
With more students and parents of students out and about for back-to-school season, it is extra important to be mindful of sharing the road and sidewalks on your morning and evening commute. There are three categories to keep in mind when you get behind the wheel: teen drivers, bicyclists, and young pedestrians.
Teen drivers are less experienced, making vehicle crashes the number one cause of death for this age group. This is why it is so important to take extra steps to protect teen drivers returning to the roads during the coming back-to-school season. The following items can help to keep your teenager and others on the road safe:
- If you are the parent of a new teen driver, practicing driving multiple times a week with them can be very helpful in preventing accidents from occurring.
- Setting a good example while driving is key to not only teaching your child safe driving practices but also keeping your passengers and others on the road safe.
- The NSC offers a New Driver Deal, which is an agreement you can sign with your teen to set safety expectations and rules for car usage.
In addition to teen/inexperienced drivers, there will also be more bicyclists on and around the roadway, including many younger children making their way to and from school. Because younger bicycle riders are likely not as familiar with traffic rules, it is key to watch for bikes in your vehicle’s side mirrors, near/in school zones, and coming onto roads from driveways and parked vehicles. Additionally, follow these guidelines when driving near a bicyclist:
- Allow 3 feet between your car and the cyclist when passing.
- Wait for bicyclists to pass if you are turning left and the bicyclist is coming from the opposite direction.
- Allow the bicyclists to go through the intersection first if they are approaching from behind when you are turning right.
- Always use your turn signals and be patient when passing or driving near a bicyclist.
While you likely encounter pedestrians quite frequently when you drive, it is important to keep younger pedestrians in mind as students return to school. According to a NHTSA publication analyzing data from 2009 to 2018, 1,207 people died in school-transportation-related crashes, which averages 121 deaths per year. Of the 1,207 people killed, 249 of them were children. The following safety tips should be followed to prevent more young pedestrian deaths and accidents from occurring:
- Do not block crosswalks when stopped to avoid pushing pedestrians into the street to cross the road.
- Stop and yield for pedestrians in the school zone and use extra caution in school zones and residential areas.
- Don’t pass vehicles that are waiting for pedestrians to cross.
- Always use extra caution, especially for young pedestrians.
Now that we have covered these back-to-school-related transportation tips and reminders, we hope you feel more well-prepared for safe driving on the road during the back-to-school season. At Dahl Consulting, our purpose is positively impacting people’s lives through employment. We’ve been in the people business since 1980 and have placed the safety of our employees, workforce, and business contacts as one of our highest priorities.
For more safety-related articles as well as staffing industry insights, check out our blog!