Back-to-School Safe Driving Tips

Already?!

Already?!

Kids are back to school on Monday, August 24—a big adjustment not only for children and parents but also for drivers on Amarillo roads. Traffic gets a little bit crazy during the school year, especially in the first few weeks as everyone gets used to buses everywhere, kids on bikes, and harried parents trying to drop their kids off before work.

When children are present, particularly before and after school, drivers must slow down and pay attention. Here are some more tips for driving safely during the back-to-school season and beyond.

Dropping Kids Off at School

Most schools have specific drop-off procedures for the school year. Make sure you know the rules for your child’s school and observe them for the safety of all kids. The following rules apply to all school zones:

  • Don’t double park (it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles).
  • Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school.
  • Carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school.

Sharing the Road with Young Pedestrians

According to the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they’re on foot—they are hit by the bus or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. Here are precautions to keep young pedestrians safe:

  • Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you (this could put them in the path of moving traffic).
  • In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.
  • Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign.
  • Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas.
  • Don’t honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way.
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
  • Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way.

Sharing the Road with School Buses

Watch for school buses starting Monday

Watch for school buses starting Monday

If you’re driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load to unload children. Here are some other guidelines for sharing the road with school buses:

  • Never pass a bus from behind (or from either direction if you’re on an undivided road) if it is stopped to load or unload children.
  • If the yellow or red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, traffic must stop.
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children (stop far enough back to allow them space to safely enter and exit the bus).
  • Be alert at all times, as children are often unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks.

Please follow these tips for a safe school year, and call Aardvark Automotive when you need auto repairs and maintenance!

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Fall and Halloween activities around Amarillo + safety tips!, part 2

Be safe this Halloween!

Be safe this Halloween!

Welcome to part 2 of our blog on Fall and Halloween activities around Amarillo + safety tips! Today, we’re going to focus on Halloween driving safety. Since the streets will literally be crawling with people, it is more important than ever to drive alertly, especially during the peak trick-or-treating hours of 6 – 9 PM.

A few tips for Halloween driving:

  • Watch for children darting into the street and between cars – according to Progressive, most young pedestrian deaths occur in spots other than intersections.
  • Slow down and stop for young pedestrians who may not be checking for cars – especially if you are driving in a residential neighborhood. Some kids might be wearing masks that impair their vision.
  • Dropping off your kids? Pull over and put on your hazard lights to alert other drivers you are pulled over.
  • Enter and exit driveways carefully, since you never know when a group of excited trick-or-treaters will dart past.

 

A few tips for trick-or-treaters (we like this list by the CDC):

S             Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.

A             Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

F             Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

E             Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Don’t eat any candy until your parents say it’s okay. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

 

H            Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don’t run from house to house.

A             Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

L             Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.

L             Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.

O             Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

W           Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

E             Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.

E             Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Don’t stop at dark houses. Never accept rides from strangers.

N            Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

Leave us a comment if you have other useful Halloween safety tips to add.

Happy Halloween from all of us at Aardvark Automotive!