Back-to-school means there will be more congestion on the roads and an increase in potential hazards. While it’s important to share the road and drive safely all year long, this time of year it’s even more critical to be aware of your surroundings in school zones and residential areas. Fortunately, a few key tips can help improve safety for everyone. Here’s what we recommend that truck drivers be aware of.
1. Reduce Distractions and Pay Attention
Driving, especially during school season, requires full attention. Checking your phone, eating, adjusting the radio or anything that takes your mind off of what's ahead needs to be restrained. It's safer for you, for other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. As drivers you have a responsibility to be alert even when others are not. With the influx of drivers you have to act as the watch-dog on the road. Put your phone in the glove box, turn the radio off, put the sandwich on the ground, whatever you need to do so your attention is on the road.
2. Watch for School Zones
Make sure to follow all school zone rules and speed limits no matter what rush you're in. Drivers should always slow down to the proper speed indicated on any signage, especially in unfamiliar areas. Keep an eye out for school zone signs, and if these signs have flashing lights, that means reduced speed limits are in effect. Keep your eyes moving to watch for pedestrians and kids walking or on bikes. Even if you’re just in a residential area during a time when kids may be going to or coming from school, be prepared to slow down or even stop if needed.
3. Be Cautious Around School Buses
If a school bus in front of you is parked with its red flashing lights and stop sign extended, you are legally obligated to stop and wait until the bus drives away. Yellow flashing lights on a school bus indicate that it is preparing to stop; you, too, should slow down to prepare to stop. Remember, school bus signals must be observed in both lanes of traffic.
4. Be Patient with Student Drivers
Do you remember the first time you drove a vehicle? It can be intimidating and intense and require a lot of focus. It’s important to drive with patience and understanding for new drivers as others have done for you. Pay extra attention in residential areas and around schools and drive defensively. Your alertness and experience could prevent an accident that may be caused by a young motorist.
5. Stay on Major Roadways
Choosing to use major highways or interstates could save you time during the school year and help keep the roads safer and less congested. It's probably best to avoid school zones in general as it's better for you and others. It’s an easy trick to remove stress and also do your part.
Always be aware of your surroundings and stay alert! Follow these tips used by our professional drivers to help you and those you share the road with return home safely each day.