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Back to School Driving Tips

Safety is extra important now that school is back in session. Here’s a host of important reminders to keep everyone safe.

Welcome to Safety School

Kids getting onto their school bus
Kids getting onto their school bus

It’s that time of year again, school is back in session and that means traffic around schools and in our own neighborhoods will be extra busy. As a result, drivers need to be extra mindful about safe driving habits, whether that’s dropping your own kids off with your Honda Odyssey or just what to do when a school bus is picking up kids in your area. Below we cover all the basics of staying safe and ensuring the safety of others as school kicks back into full swing.

School Buses

School bus stop sign
School bus stop sign

Watch for Lights – Yellow lights flashing mean the bus is preparing to stop, so be prepared to stop also. Red lights flashing mean the bus is stopping, whether you see the stop sign or not.

Stop When You See the Sign – Drivers traveling either direction must stop when a school bus deploys its stop sign. This is true on all two-lane roads, but also on roads with a left turn lane and even four or more lanes. Only when there is a median dividing the road do drivers on the opposite side need not stop for a bus.

Watch for Late Kids – Even if a bus does have its lights or isn’t even stopping, drivers should still be on the look out for kids rushing to their stop, on foot or on bicycle.

Busing Advice of Kids

Girl waiting to get on the bus
Girl waiting to get on the bus

Wait 10 Feet Back – Kids should wait at least ten feet back from the bus until it has come to a complete stop.

Look Both Ways – Aways look both ways before crossing in front of the bus. And always make sure you’re walking in front of the bus, never behind. Also, make sure the driver can always see you.

Single File – Make sure to get on and off the bus in an orderly single file line.

Children waiting in a bus line
Children waiting in a bus line

Keep it In the Bus – Hands, heads, and phones need to always stay inside the bus.

Find Your Seat – When getting on the bus, students should find their seat and sit as soon as possible.

Dropping Off and Driving Near Schools

School crossing guard
School crossing guard

Obey Traffic Guard – It’s important to always follow the crossing guard’s instructions and don’t block the crosswalk.

No Passing – Do not pass in a school zone; be patient.

Go With the Flow – Avoid U-turns and reversing in a school zone.

Dad dropping off his daughter at school
Dad dropping off his daughter at school

Don’t Rush – Slow down and leave early to make it to your destination. Especially in this first week of school traffic at drop off and pick up will be extra hectic.

Watch Your Speed – When in a school zone, follow the modified speed limit. Even though signs may say “When Children Are Present,” you should still reduce your speed in school zones as after school activities can last into the evening.

Avoid Distraction – Get off your phone, stop arguing with your teenager, and put down your latte. Kids are unpredictable and often take undue risks without thinking first, you need to be paying full attention when driving in a school zone.

Advice for Teen Drivers

Young driver putting on his seat belt
Young driver putting on his seat belt

All the above goes double for teenage drivers, especially avoiding distractions.

Oh, and Buckle Up! – Nearly half of all traffic fatalities are the result of not wearing a seatbelt. Click it or the least of your problems may be the traffic ticket.

For a comprehensive list of tips for new drivers, here’s our list of dos and don’ts for learning to drive.

Want to become the best defensive driver? Here’s how.

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Chris Kaiser

With two decades of writing experience and five years of creating advertising materials for car dealerships across the U.S., Chris Kaiser explores and documents the car world’s latest innovations, unique subcultures, and era-defining classics. Armed with a Master's Degree in English from the University of South Dakota, Chris left an academic career to return to writing full-time. He is passionate about covering all aspects of the continuing evolution of personal transportation, but he specializes in automotive history, industry news, and car buying advice.

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