School Year Starts – Drivers Need to Be Aware

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School Buses
The Archie gang at Pop's - the Riverdale stop for the entire high school for snacks and gossip.
The Archie gang at Pop’s – the Riverdale stop for the entire high school for snacks and gossip.

Back to School Equals Extra Care

THUNDER BAY – Starting on September 6th, first with a huge sigh of relief from parents, and with a blend of happy smiles and tears from students, the 2017-2018 school year will be underway.

Students of course for the most part will be excited. They may ignore some of the basic rules of safely crossing roads as they met their friends and head to class.

Especially true for older students, stuck staring at their smartphones to keep up to date on all those vitally unimportant details on social media – they may not be paying as much attention as they should to details like passing cars.

Drivers and pedestrians both need to be aware. So too do parents as their children embark on the school year.

The K-Division RCMP offer these basic tips to ensure that the school year gets off to a safe start:

Drivers

  • Slow down in school zones and be especially alert during drop-off and pick-up times when driving near schools.
  • Watch for students at crosswalks; obey the signals of crossing guards and traffic control devices.
  • Put away your electronics and focus on the road and traffic.
  • Watch out for students walking or cycling to school as you pull out or back out of your garage and driveway.

Students

  • If waiting for a school bus, stand in a safe, well-lit area away from the road.
  • If walking to school, walk on the sidewalk and cross at marked crosswalks and controlled intersections.
  • As a pedestrian, do not always assume that you have the right of way.
  • Always watch for traffic when crossing the street, even when you have the right of way.
  • If there are no sidewalks, walk facing oncoming traffic and stay as far away from traffic as possible.
  • In the dim early morning hours or on dark evenings, wear brightly-coloured clothing, a reflective arm band or clothing with reflective strips to help you to be seen by motorists.
  • If riding a skateboard, scooter or roller-blading to school, wear your safety gear. Cyclists under 18 years old are required by law to wear a helmet.
  • Don’t be a distracted pedestrian – listening to loud music on headphones or using a mobile device while walking makes you less aware of the traffic dangers around you.

Parents

  • Show your child a safe route by which to walk to and from school. Make sure they know how to safely use a crosswalk and obey all traffic control devices and crossing guards.
  • Discourage your child from taking shortcuts through parking lots or jaywalking to and from school.
  • Show your child a safe place where they can wait for the bus, and ensure they are aware of any traffic hazards near the bus stop.
  • Tell your child never to run after a school bus in an effort to catch it –the bus driver and other motorists may not see them on the road.
  • If you meet your child at the bus stop after school, wait at the bus stop itself, not across the street. Children may forget traffic safety rules in their excitement to see you and dash across the street.
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