Pay Attention in School Zones

Tuesday, 10 July 2012
As another round of school holidays come to an end, it‘s important to remind ourselves about risks and the road safety issues we can potentially face as the next term begins.

The start of a school term brings greater traffic around schools and a busier schedule for both parents and students - which can lead to higher levels of driver distraction and inattention.

The pressure of daily life often means that the people around you aren’t fully concentrating on what they’re doing, which can make them unpredictable.

School zones are busy places at peak times. They are often a unique mix of large numbers of cars and people moving about in all different directions. In these situations you also need to allow for other people doing unexpected things.

When driving in a school zone always observe the road rules and maintain a reduced speed limit of 40km/hr.

You also need to increase your eye movement and look as far ahead as you can. It is also vital that you scan the road sides of any signs of pedestrians. It is possible that a child can be hidden from your view by a small tree, fence or power pole.

It is also important to be on high alert as children or other students may cross the road without warning. Children tend to act spontaneously and don't always have the maturity to act sensibly in a road environment.

Also, young children often have difficulty judging vehicle speed and making decisions about when to cross the road. It only takes two seconds for a child to run from the curb to the centre line of a road and the faster a vehicle is travelling, the longer it will take to stop.

This is another reason why it is so important to obey the lower speed limits in school zones.

Road users can improve children's safety by:

• Driving cautiously where children might be found
• Not speeding and being ready to stop quickly to avoid a child
• Parking legally and safely when collecting or dropping off children; and
• Never dropping children off while in traffic, at traffic lights or at a supervised crossing.

Another good tip when dropping the kids off is to get them into the habit of exiting the car on the left hand side (kerbside). This will mean that they don’t get out of the vehicle on the traffic side of the car.

Carers and parents should also remember the importance of role modelling good road safety behaviour as children learn by observing what adults do.

So, stick to the rules, keep alert and allow plenty time for the school run.

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