Our children depend on our safe driving

As school starts this fall, be especially aware of pedestrians when driving through school zones.

Many child pedestrians are killed in the streets or sidewalks of their school zones because of the reckless and irresponsible behaviors of motorists. Drivers need to remember the unpredictability of children and be on the lookout for all pedestrians. It is difficult for children to see motorists and for motorists to see them. Children also have difficulty judging a car’s speed and distance, and they often think that if they can see the driver, the driver can see them.

As the school season begins, keep in mind these school zone motorist safety tips:

  • Observe speed limits at all times, but especially around children. When driving in school zones, near playgrounds, or in neighborhoods where children might be playing, anticipate that a child may dart out into the roadway.
  • When turning left at a green light or making a right turn on red, look for children crossing the street.
  • While picking up kids, do not stop or park in the crosswalk.
  • A school bus’s red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that it has stopped and that children are getting on or off. As you approach a stopped school bus from either direction, wait until the red lights stop flashing before proceeding. On undivided roadways with no physical barrier or median, stop on both sides of the roadway.
  • Avoid using a cell phone close to school zones. If you are texting, talking or making a call, it affects your ability to react quickly. Remember that using cell phones while driving in a school zone is illegal in Illinois.

Again, children’s actions can be unpredictable, and they do not always pay close attention to drivers when they are outside a school zone on the way home. Motorists, child pedestrians and adults with child pedestrians should be especially mindful of moving vehicles during the school year.

For more information on school zone and school bus safety, view this National Safety Council video.

Brian Niesman, ES&H Traffic Safety Subcommittee Chair