With the Summer season coming to an end, cooler temperatures and school season slide into place. Staying attentive during the morning and evening commute becomes all the more important, with many more teen drivers and children consistently in transit during these hours. Working with Gator Chrysler Dodge (Melbourne, FL), we have come up with some great tips to help keep school day driving safe for everyone on the road.
1) Watch for School Zones and Crossing Guards
While driving near a school zone, there will be a speed-limit sign that has yellow flashing lights, indicating a much slower speed. If the lights are flashing it is very important to drive at a slower speed in order to buy you more time to react to the unexpected and increase the safety of crossing pedestrians. Be ready to stop at crosswalks and stop lights where pedestrians are expected to cross. Watch for a crossing guard or police officer on the roadway, and follow their traffic directions while behind the wheel.
2) Yield for School Busses
Nothing says school season than a large number of big yellow busses covering the roadways. School busses are a friendly transportation system to help safely get children and teens to school and back. As such most accidents in recent years involving school busses have been during students getting on/off or walking immediately after departure. Be aware that if a bus is stopped and has red lights flashing, there is a child in the vicinity. Even when the lights turn off, it is a very good practice to exercise caution, especially if you can not see the child or teen that just departed.
3) Talk Safety with your Teen Driver
Earning a driver’s license as a teen is an exciting step in life and a newfound form of independence. Being able to handle abrupt traffic situations (sudden braking, etc.) on the roadways effectively can be difficult and becomes easier with driving experience. Leaving extra room between your car and the car in front is a great way to buy more time to react and be more mindful of the surroundings. Removing distractions is immensely important, especially with cellphones and other devices. Remind your teen that taking an extra few minutes by pulling over and stopping is not that detrimental compared to driving distracted. Talk to your teen about drug use and establish a zero-tolerance policy of driving or being a passenger to someone who is under the influence of a drug.
4) Depart Earlier in the Morning
Getting up and leaving even just a few minutes early will buy you and/or your teen driver time and eliminate the stress of avoiding being late. Leaving early can also allow you to get ahead of the morning rush, creating safer driving conditions with a lower density of traffic. Speed limits are balanced and refined in order to both give the safest driving speed for driving on the roads safely, but also to help protect pedestrians and decrease the chance of an accident. Also, check for adverse weather forecasts and plan ahead to leave early; heavy rain and fog can be common occurrences, reducing visibility and potentially decreasing traction.
The morning and afternoon/evening commute can be difficult time of day to stay focused while on the drive, especially with the increased number of drivers and pedestrians entering the roadways. Being aware of traffic situations and crossing pedestrians is a great way to help keep students and other drivers safe.