Safety Tips for School Drop-Offs
With kids heading back to school this fall, parents are worried about safety in school zones, coupled with increased distractions while driving.
A new BCAA Survey reveals most British Columbians (68%) expect school zones to be more chaotic as people get used to new drop-off and pick-up routines. And nearly half (48%) believe that school zones will be more dangerous this year due to distracted driving.
I sent a few questions to BCAA’s Director of Community Engagement, Shawn Pettipas:
- Where are the most dangerous/hazardous places around a school for drivers and students?
When it comes to school zones, our survey results show that all areas can be dangerous for drivers and pedestrians. Through the entire school zone, drivers need to expect kids or others to cross away from marked crosswalks, and expect kids to walk out from between parked cars. That’s why we’re reminding drivers to stay alert, drive the reduced speed limit and eliminate distractions so they can watch the road.
- A lot of students will be arriving on motorized scooters and ebikes. What extra safety measures do they need to remember?
Students riding an e-bike or motorized scooter to/from school should always wear a helmet, follow local traffic laws, and watch for pedestrians, cars and other obstacles. It’s also a good idea to outfit their e-bike or scooter with lights and a bell so they can alert others around them.
- Are ebikes and electric scooters allowed on the road or sidewalks?
It’s best to check with local law enforcement for the specific rules in your area. ICBC has some good general information about operating e-bikes and motorized scooters and skateboards.
- As the mornings and later afternoons become darker what equipment should the students use/wear to make them more visible?
With shorter days on the way, students (and any pedestrians walking with them), should wear bright and/or reflective apparel. Colourful and/or reflective umbrellas and using small clip-on lights can help boost visibility even more. If clothing does not already have reflective elements, parents may want to purchase reflective strips to add to backpacks, jackets or rain pants.
- When I was going to school (many years ago!), the school and local council would give out reflective snap bracelets to reflect the car headlights. Are there any more recent initiatives like this?
You may want to check with your school’s PAC or local law enforcement to see if they’re offering free reflective snap bracelets. To help alert drivers to kids who are walking to/from school (and playing in neighbourhoods), BCAA has partnered with Block Watch BC to distribute ‘Slow Down, Kids Playing’ signs across the province. A limited number of signs are still available through local Block Watch coordinators – a list of local coordinators is available here.
- Since we can expect a lot of rain this Fall/Winter, are there any extra school commuting tips we could use for wet weather?
Weather in BC can be so unpredictable! We have tips on driving in rainy / foggy / icy fall and winter weather available on our website. And, tips for riding your bike in the rain can be found here.
BCAA is offering advice to help parents drive safely during those first weeks back: · Build extra time into your daily routine to prevent rushing – the root of many poor driving behaviours.
· Know the school’s drop-off and pick-up procedures.
· Pay close attention to all traffic rules.
· Reduce congestion by parking and walking your children into the school zone.