We are encouraging all motorists to be mindful of school zones and school bus safety as the school year begins. After a summer of driving without school bus drop-offs/pick-ups or hordes of kids walking to and from school, drivers can often forget the challenges of driving in school zones. Now is the time to adjust your driving habits to ensure you aren’t involved in a potentially fatal crash with a child or receiving a costly ticket.
Drivers generally have to drive for everybody else, and a lot of times that is limited to other drivers. However, that also extends to the pedestrians, particularly in school zones. Signs are posted around school zones as a reminder to take caution. Palomar College Police is reminding drivers that there are thousands of students going to and from school, it’s up to you to keep them safe.
With safety of children a primary concern, officers will be out and about monitoring school zones in the city to ensure motorists are being safe and are in compliance with the law.
Here are a few safety tips and legal reminders as the school year begins:
Tips for Parents
- Follow the Speed Limit – Slow down! All schools have reduced speed zones around them, the speed limit in all schools is 25 mph. Following the speed limit reduces the chances of you being in a crash and improves the chances for survival if a crash does occur. The simplest thing any driver can do when there are new driving hazards is slow down.
- Allow More Time. As a new school year begins allow yourself more time to get where you are going until you can figure out the effects of increased traffic.
- Stay Alert! Make a mental note of any new/existing bus stops or students walking to and from school. This way you won’t be surprised and will be prepared if you need to stop.
- Learn the Rules. Schools usually have places for parents to drop off and pick up children. If you are driving your child to school, learn where these areas are and follow the procedures. If you need to, contact the individual schools and ask where you can park your vehicle so traffic can continue to move smoothly.
- Stop for School Buses. When the red lights are flashing stop. It is against the law to pass a school bus when the lights are on, regardless of location.
- Use a What If Strategy. What if that child darts out in front of me? What if that car stops short? Remember young children are not able to accurately determine the speed of an oncoming vehicle and may take risks crossing the street. Use the “what if” strategy to keep you alert.
- Yield to Pedestrians. Remember to yield to children/parents in crosswalks. When a pedestrian is in a crosswalk they have the right-of-way.
- Carpool. If at all possible, carpool with other parents to pick up and drop off children. This reduces congestion and can even save you money as well as time. Also, if you have an older student who is allowed to drive to school have him/her carpool as well.
- Talk with Teen Drivers. Remind your teen drivers about the importance of being extra careful in and around school zones.
- Avoid double parking or stopping to let children out of a car. There areas are designated to safely walk children across the street.
- Watch out for Crossing Guards and obey their signs.
- Buses Make Frequent Stops. Children may unexpectedly run into traffic or out from the bus. When a bus stops, assume children are in the immediate area and be especially attentive.
Tips for Parents
- Help your children learn and practice the safety rules for walking, bicycling, or riding in a passenger car, school bus or transit bus.
- Supervise young children as they are walking or biking to school or as they wait at the school bus stop.
- Be a good role model, especially when you are with your kids. Always buckle up in the car, always wear a helmet when biking, and always follow pedestrian safety rules.
Tips for Students
- Always buckle up when you’re riding in a car.
- Always ride in the back seat. It’s the safest place for young people and required by law for children 8 years old and younger.
- Always wear a helmet and follow traffic safety rules when riding your bike.
- If you ride a school bus, learn and practice the safety rules for waiting at the bus stop, getting on and off the bus, and riding the bus.
- If you walk to school, learn and practice the safety rules for pedestrians. Always cross at cross walks, obey all traffic signs, traffic lights and safety patrol instructions.
- Be a good role model for your younger brothers and sisters and friends, and help them learn and practice the safety rules
We are looking forward to another great school year, and that starts with motorists being mindful of school zones and school buses carrying our children. Our officers will be paying close attention to school zones and the safe operation of vehicles throughout the area near the College.