Poor weather & darker days require extra caution when traveling to & from school
As winter weather begins to settle in and daylight hours decrease, we remind drivers and pedestrians to take care and use extra caution when traveling to and from school.
According to ICBC, nearly half of all crashes with pedestrians happen between October and January and about 80 per cent of those happen at intersections.
Even when drivers are being cautious, heavy rain and fog can limit visibility on the road, making it difficult to see pedestrians.
We all need to do our part – here are some important tips:
- Cross only at marked or controlled crosswalks & follow traffic signals: Do not jaywalk or cross when it isn’t your turn.
- Make eye contact with drivers as it’s hard to see pedestrians when visibility is poor in fall & winter: Never assume a driver has seen you! Be certain they see you and that they’ve committed to coming to a stop.
- Watch for drivers turning left or right through the crosswalk: Drivers may be focused on oncoming traffic and not see you.
- Wait until a crossing guard says it’s safe to cross: If your school has a crossing guard, follow their instructions before crossing – they will make sure it’s safe before guiding you across.
- Be as reflective as possible: This will make it easier for drivers to see you in wet weather, and at dawn and dusk.
- Leave your phone alone: Distraction is the leading factor for drivers in crashed involving pedestrians and cyclists. Poor weather only makes it riskier.
- Scan crosswalks & intersections from left to right as you approach: Take extra care in school zones and near transit stops, especially when turning at intersections.
- Give yourself enough stopping distance: You need more time to stop when roads are wet or slippery or when you're driving fast. At a slower speed, motorists have better chance to react when children or others are crossing the road. This could be the difference that saves a life!
- Stick to the speed limit: A 30 km/h speed limit is in effect in school zones from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every school day, unless otherwise posted. In playground zones, a 30 km/h speed limit is in effect every day from dawn to dusk.
- Notice if other drivers are slowing down or stopping: If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding to a pedestrian, so proceed with caution and be prepared to stop.
Whether driving, walking or cycling, expect the unexpected, stay alert and stay safe!