School zone - slow down!

Back to school and school zone safe driving

The kids are back in school. Mom is feeling so excited and yet a little nervous about the bird leaving the nest. That child's safety has to be assured. It is a driver's responsibility to be sure that children are protected from harm as they go to and from school.

Reduce your speed

You will see the signs. Be at the correct speed the moment you enter the zone. You need to be ready to brake suddenly and the slower you are going, the faster you will stop.

Pay attention

There are school buses arriving, bunches of people walking and drivers dropping off children. It is a lot of hullabaloo. Remember that a small child may dart out unexpectedly. The younger a child is, the less likely they are to be aware of the limitations of the drivers of the cars and trucks around them.

Some of those kids are really short! They can be hard to see and often are oblivious to their surroundings. Expect the unexpected.

Obey the "little generals"

Always obey crossing guards. They are easy to spot with their fluorescent vests and usually have a flag/sign to signal you to stop. When the flags have been extended the crossing guard will enter the street. You must come to a complete stop. The pedestrians will cross and then the guards will return to their station off the street. Watch out for a last minute straggler hurrying to catch up with his buddies.

School buses

A bus has a lot of children that can go any which direction when boarding or getting off. Try to avoid bus loading zones if you can.

You know the rules. Slow down as you approach a bus and come to a complete stop when its flashing red lights are activated. The lights, often accompanied by a stop sign, indicate that children are boarding or getting off the bus. You may not pass the bus until the lights are deactivated and the stop sign is retracted.

Dropping the children off at school

Insurance answer

Canadian Underwriter reports that children aged five to 14 accounted for about 60% of school-age victims of car/pedestrian collisions in the province according to Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI).

One in four cyclists struck by cars in Manitoba are ages five to 19 years old, according to MPI data. On average, 60 school-aged cyclists are hit each year by a vehicle.

"Many of these pedestrians were hit while going to or returning from school," said Eden. "Manitoba drivers need to focus on making the roads safer and re-familiarizing themselves with safe driving tips as students head back to school."

Speeding in a school zone or passing in a school zone are very expensive tickets. You will also see a jump in your insurance rates as these tickets are "surchargable". This can take you from the lowest price paid to high risk with one nudge of that gas pedal. Take control of your insurance. Protect the children and other pedestrians. Protect your insurance premiums.