Many schools in New Jersey are starting up again this week. This means you will see more kids outside walking, biking and waiting for the school bus. It also means that during your commute you are likely to get stuck behind a school bus either picking up or dropping off kids. This time of year requires a little extra patience and vigilance while driving, walking, and biking to prevent accidents. Below is a list of safety tips for drivers, children, and parents. Please be careful out there.
- Obey the speed limit especially in school zones.
- Look out for children who are walking, bicycling, or waiting for the bus.
- Be alert — children who are late for the bus may dart into the street without paying attention to traffic.
- Drivers should not block a cross walk at any time.
- Stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk, it’s the law.
- Obey school bus traffic laws:
- Yellow lights will begin to flash to warn drivers that a bus is approaching a stop. This is your signal to slow down and prepare to stop.
- Flashing red lights mean you must stop at least 25 feet away from the bus. If you are driving on the opposite side of the road with a median in the middle, you must then slow down to 10 mph.
- Penalties for passing a stopped school bus include fines and up to five points on a driver’s license.
- Get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.
- When the bus approaches, stand at least three giant steps (6 feet) away from the curb and line up away from the street. Also, wait for the bus to arrive before you approach it.
- Always wear a helmet when riding your bike to school, and follow traffic safety rules.
- If you walk to school, learn and practice the safety rules for pedestrians. It’s extremely important that you use sidewalks and crosswalks if available.
- Look left, right and left again before crossing the street, and keep looking and listening while crossing
- Obey all traffic signs, traffic signals, and crossing guard instructions.
- Don’t listen to headphones when walking or biking, you can’t hear vehicles approaching.
- Try to walk with a family member, neighbors, or other students in large groups.
- Do not walk, run, or ride your bicycle down railroad tracks. It’s illegal and dangerous.
- Provide your child with bright clothing so that motorists can see them.
- Teach your children to obey all traffic and pedestrian laws.
- Be sure your child walks to and from school with a sibling, friend or neighbor.
- Make sure your child’s walk to school is a safe route with well-trained adult crossing guards at every intersection.
- Find out your child’s school’s drop-off and pickup procedures and stick to them.