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‘Always be aware’: Road safety top mind as kids head back to the classroom


With students heading back to the classroom next week, CAA is offering tips to ensure the journey to and from school is a safe one.

Officials are urging road users to be extra vigilant while travelling through school zones, noting a recent survey revealed 82 per cent of parents in Canada report having seen unsafe driving behaviours.

“We are encouraging motorists, especially this time of year, to be extra vigilant in school zones,” said Tracy Marshall, manager of community relations at CAA South Central Ontario.

Marshall explained that speeding, double parking and stopping in undesignated areas continue to be problematic in school zones.

“Not surprising, there's congestion in school zones,” Marshall said. “41 per cent of students are driven to school. So, you know, it's not surprising that there'd be a little congestion. I think what's more worrying are those bad behaviors.”

“The motorists, we’re just saying slow down in school zones, really, again, that excitement, the nervousness, the kids aren't always paying attention. So please slow down keep your hands on the wheel. Put your distractions away, focus on the road.”

CAA has several tips motorists can use to ensure they are staying safe in school zones:

  • Help reduce traffic with active school travel: Encourage your kids to walk or ride to school to ease traffic congestion. If your school is a further distance, CAA encourages parents and guardians to park a block away and walk to school, if possible, to reduce traffic and make school zones safer.
  • Slow down: Know the speed limit in your neighbourhood's school zones and respect them. Ensure you give yourself plenty of time to drop off your kids at school to avoid rushing.
  • Follow the rules of the road near school buses: Always stop for a stopped school bus with its upper flashing red light and/ stop arm activated and wait for children to get safely on or off. Stay alert and watch for children or parents/guardians crossing the road when the bus moves on.
  • Choose a safe spot to drop off and pick up your children from school: Follow your school's rules and avoid double parking or stopping on crosswalks, dropping off or picking up your kids on the opposite side of the street, and stopping in moving traffic as kids rush out. Instead, use the designated drop off areas or consider a spot a bit farther away from school that is easily accessible and safe.
  • Make eye contact with passing pedestrians and cyclists: With the excitement of going back to school, anticipate that children may not easily see or hear your moving vehicle. Use eye contact to ensure pedestrians are aware of you driving your vehicle.
  • Watch for CAA School Safety Patrollers: As one of the largest youth volunteer programs in Canada, they play an important role by keeping their peers safe on school buses and in school zones. Keep a lookout for their bright safety vests.

Meanwhile, City of Windsor coordinator of parking services Bill Kralovensky, said enforcement teams will be monitoring school zones closely next week, reminding residents that fines have increased by about 70 per cent over the last year in an attempt to deter infractions.

“It wasn't hurting them in the pocketbook, so we had to try and make it a little worse for them. All in the name of safety,” Kralovensky said.

“Always be aware,” he continued. “Some children dart out, we’ve got plenty of parked cars around schools. Please slow down. Have a look. Look ahead, you know always be looking ahead, never behind, I know sometimes even kids in the back seat or whatever. But always remember the outside of your vehicle.”

To clear up any confusion about where parking around schools is allowed, Kralovensky also suggested parents become familiar with the school neighbourhood before the first day of class and also download the MappMyCity app which highlights areas where vehicles can be stopped in green. Top Stories

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