Smart moves: Driver and pedestrian tips to stay safe around school zones
As students and staff head back to school this week, Surrey Schools reminds the community about best practices when it comes to driver and pedestrian safety around schools.
With 359 children in BC injured in crashes while walking and cycling each year, it is important to be aware of your surroundings at all times and practice the following safety tips when travelling around schools:
Stick to the speed limit: School zones are in effect, meaning speed limits are 30 km/h 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 (including weekends) from dawn to dusk.
Leave your phone alone: Drivers are more likely to get into an accident when using their phones and in B.C., 77 people on average are killed each year due to distracted driving.
Scan crosswalks and intersections as you approach: Look left to right when approaching any pedestrian crossings and watch for people waiting to cross.
Pay attention to what other drivers are doing: 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.
Give yourself enough time to stop suddenly: The faster you’re driving, the more time it takes to come to a stop. Ensure you have time to react if children or others are crossing the road by driving slowly and paying close attention to your surroundings.
Watch for school buses: When their lights are flashing, vehicles approaching from both directions must stop.
Cross only at marked or controlled crosswalks: Do not jaywalk or cross the street when it isn’t your turn.
Look both ways before crossing the street: Ensure it is safe to cross from both directions of traffic before setting foot in the crosswalk.
Make eye contact with approaching drivers: Before you enter a crosswalk, make eye contact with any oncoming drivers to ensure they’ve noticed you and are committed to stopping.
Ensure crosswalk and crossing lights and signals are working: Look up to ensure any flashing lights and/or signals at your crossing are working before you step onto the street.
Remove headphones and ear buds: Ensuring you can hear clearly makes you better aware of your surroundings on the road.
Wait until the crossing guard tells you 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.
Have your children enter and exit the vehicle on the side closest to the sidewalk: It is safest to drop off and pick up your child as close to the sidewalk as possible. Do not have your child exit the car into a traffic lane or cross the street mid-block.
Before starting your car, check for small children hidden from your view: Walk around your car before starting to drive and always look carefully for pedestrians before backing up.
See ICBC’s page on Road Safety for more information on driver and pedestrian safety.
Please also see the Surrey Schools safety sheet on school parking and traffic safety.
Wishing you a safe return to school!