With the start of school nearing, children will soon be crossing streets, walking and bicycling to get to school each day. Children can be difficult to see in front of schools and buses, and drivers need to be extra cautious in school zones.
• Watch for lower speed limit signs around schools. Some neighborhoods post slower School Zone speed limit zones 1-2 blocks away from schools. While residential speed limits are usually 25mph, some schools lower them to 20 or even 15 mph when children are present.
• Slow down and stop if you’re near a school bus with flashing yellow or red lights. Yellow lights mean the bus is preparing to stop, and red lights (and a STOP sign) mean children are getting on or off, and could be crossing in front of the bus to reach school. Only proceed once the lights have been turned off – it is illegal to drive around a school bus that has lights flashing.
• Always be alert – especially for students running or darting out into the street on foot or on bike, whether they’re in intersections or not.
• Take precaution around areas children gather after school, especially parks, sports fields and libraries. Be watchful near ice cream trucks and food carts, or any other place where children might blindly appear in the street.
• As a driver, you must yield to any pedestrian crossing the street from a corner. According to California Vehicle Code, pedestrians have the right-of-way at any intersection, whether or not a crosswalk has been painted on the street. Make eye contact with students waiting to cross corners so they know you can see them.
• Drop children off as close to school as possible – preferably on the same side of the street as the school. Arrange a specific time and place to pick up your child after school.
• As the days get shorter, many students commute from school in the dark – especially after sports or clubs. Even after school hours, use caution near schools and drive slowly.
• Be aware of bicycles, scooters, rollerblades and skateboards. Fast-moving riders may not have time to adjust direction to avoid a collision. Double-check bike lanes before turning.
• Always obey the commands of crossing guards or bus drivers – they have clear views of students that drivers may not be able to see.
For more information, visit Sacramento County Department of Transportation website.