School zone signage. (Black Press Media files)

BACK TO SCHOOL

5 tips to help kids stay safe as they head back to school

Back to school means increased congestion on the roads

As children prepare to return to the classroom next week, ICBC is warning drivers to be on the lookout for kids on the roadside.

The end of summer means more congestion on B.C. roadways, and drivers will need to plan for extra travel time to their destinations as well as obey a 30-kilometre-per-hour speed limit within school zones, the Crown corporation said in a news release Wednesday.

Police across the province, with the help of volunteers, will be closely monitoring drivers’ speeds to kick off the new school year on Sept. 4. Roughly 380 children are injured in crashes while walking or cycling each year, according to ICBC crash data. As many as five kids are killed.

ICBC is also encouraging parents and guardians to practice safety during and pick up and drop off, and are offering up these five tips:

  • If you drop off your child in a school zone, allow them to exit the car on the side closest to the sidewalk. Never allow a child to cross mid-block.
  • If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding to a pedestrian, so proceed with caution and be prepared to stop.
  • Watch for school buses. When their lights are flashing, vehicles approaching from both directions must stop.
  • Before getting into your vehicle, walk around it to make sure no small children are hidden from your view. Always look for pedestrians when you’re backing up.
  • In residential areas, a hockey net or ball can mean that kids are playing nearby. Watch for children as they could dash into the street at any moment.
  • Remember that every school day, unless otherwise posted, a 30 kilometre per hour speed limit is in effect in school zones from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In playground zones, the same speed limit is in effect every day from dawn to dusk.

@ashwadhwani
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