Back-to-school season can bring lots of traffic woes. From changing traffic patterns to crosswalks and bus stops, there are many hazards to watch out for. Whether you’re heading into work or trying to drop the kids off on time, it’s normal to feel a little stressed when you’re behind the wheel. These important reminders will help make your daily commute a little bit safer.
1. Watch Out for School Zones
Most school zones are marked by flashing lights and posted speed limit signs, so be sure to watch out for them. Not only are speeding tickets usually higher in school zones, but if you’re not paying attention, there’s also a chance that someone could get hurt. While school zones are typically active during drop-off and pickup times, they may also be active in the evenings if there are kids attending games, band practice, or other school events.
2. Stay Alert
When the kids are arguing in the back seat, you’re trying to finish your breakfast, and your phone won’t stop ringing, it’s pretty hard to concentrate on the road. It may seem impossible to eliminate distractions, but it’s very important! In 2020 alone, distracted driving was responsible for 3,142 deaths in the U.S.
You can help yourself focus by making it a point not to eat or drink in the car and using an app to limit distracted driving. These apps can mute notifications, send calls directly to voicemail, and even pay you cash for locking your phone while you're driving!
3. Keep Your Cool
Drop-off lines, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and inconsiderate drivers are enough to make you feel a little bit crazy, but always remember to keep your cool. Speeding, tailgating, and other forms of reckless driving won’t help anything. Engaging in these activities can get you a ticket and raise your insurance rates, so take a deep breath and stay calm.
4. Follow School Bus Rules
Always watch out for those big yellow buses! When a school bus is stopped and the red lights are flashing, it’s illegal to pass — even if you don’t see anyone getting on or off. When you see yellow lights flashing, this means the bus is getting ready to stop. Take this as your cue to slow down and prepare to stop as well. Make sure you don’t move your vehicle until the lights stop flashing, the arm is withdrawn, and the bus starts moving again.
When you’re driving behind a school bus, allow at least three car lengths of distance so you'll have plenty of space if you need to slam on your brakes. And when you stop, make sure you’re at least 20 feet back so the children have enough space to safely get on and off.
5. Give Yourself Extra Time
The morning commute can be chaotic, so try to leave the house 10 or 15 minutes earlier than you usually do. This will give you time to adjust to the new traffic patterns and will help lower the temptation to drive faster than you should.
If you forget to follow these tips and find yourself with a ticket in your hand, you may be able to avoid getting points on your license by taking an online defensive driving course. I Drive Safely offers fast, hassle-free courses that you can complete from any device, at your own pace. Check it out today!