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BACK TO SCHOOL

Safety Tips for Drivers

It’s finally here. Little ones with their over-sized backpacks and shiny new running shoes, laughter, stories of summer vacation and rushing to get to school before the bell rings. As summer comes to an end the focus switches from carefree fun to learning and playing with friends. Kids will be travelling on buses, riding their bikes, and walking to and from school.

Let’s help keep the kids safe by following a few safety tips:

  • Watch for pedestrians and cyclists. Be on the lookout for pedestrians and cyclists, especially little ones that could easily disappear behind other vehicles. As soon as the bell rings kids are excited to get home and play, and may not be paying attention to where they’re going.
  • Be patient. Little legs take a bit longer to cross the street. Kids may be excited about seeing their friends or sharing show-and-tell with their new teacher, and may not be fully focused on watching for cars.
  • Keep the crosswalk clear. Avoid blocking intersections on community streets so kids can safely cross the road and make their way home.
  • Stay a safe distance behind school buses. Be sure to leave enough room so students can safely cross the road and get home. It only takes a few minutes for them to get on and off the bus.
  • Avoiding double parking. We’re rushed in the morning and evening getting from place to place. Avoid double parking when dropping off and picking up kids at school. This will help to increase visibility of students and families that are busy getting to their destination.
  • New pedestrian crossover and school crossing rules. Drivers and cyclists must stop and yield at pedestrian crossovers, school crossings and other locations where there is a crossing guard. Drivers must wait until pedestrians and crossing guards have fully crossed the street and are safely on the sidewalk before proceeding. These new rules came into effect January 1, 2016. Fines range from $150 to $500 plus three demerit points, and are doubled in Community Safety Zones, near schools and public areas. For more information, visit: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/pedestrian-safety.shtml

September means that more students will be on sidewalks and riding their bikes, busily making their way to and from school. With all the back to school excitement kids may not be mindful of their surroundings. Please remember to pack some patience and a few extra minutes to make sure all the students safely make it to school and back home. Let’s work together to keep the kids in our community safe.

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This post was written by Joanna Williams