Back to school: Back to road safety basics

It’s that time of year again. Back to school is just around the corner. While this year, like last, is a little unusual with some students returning to class and others learning online, one thing remains the same — road safety matters. 

Now is the time to teach the children in our communities to be aware of roadway risks and remind drivers to be mindful of the increase in vehicle and pedestrian traffic — for everyone’s safety.  

Here are some back to school tips for us all to keep in-mind:

Tips for students

  • Plan your route 
  • Don’t jaywalk — always cross the road at an intersection, crosswalk or with the help of a crossing guard
  • Be alert and aware — avoid distractions such as electronic devices, cell phones, and earbuds

Crossing basics: Stop at the curb, look left and right for oncoming vehicles, check for vehicles that may be turning, when the intersection is clear, begin crossing, keeping an eye out for approaching vehicles.

  • Look: Make eye contact with drivers and ensure that they have stopped before entering the road
  • Be seen: Wear bright clothes during the day and reflective gear at night and in poor weather
  • Don’t cut through parked cars — it makes it difficult for drivers to see you

Where to walk: Walk on the side of the sidewalk furthest from the road. If there isn’t a sidewalk on your route, walk facing oncoming traffic so that you can see approaching traffic.

Tips for drivers

  • Give yourself extra time, especially at this time of year when roadways and sidewalks will be busier than normal
  • Watch for pedestrians — there will be more students on the streets making their way to/from school
  • Slow down and watch for school zones that have further reduced speed limits
  • Stop for school buses when you see flashing red lights and an extended stop arm (this applies to traffic in both directions)
  • Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles and school buses, which stop frequently 
  • Drive safely — be aware of your surroundings and do not make u-turns or three-point turns in school zones or near crosswalks
  • Obey crossing guards signals and signs and allow pedestrians and crossing guards to reach the sidewalk before proceeding
  • Avoid distractions — put down the phone and save eating or drinking for later 

Tips for cyclists

  • Obey all traffic laws, signs, and signals as if you were motorized vehicle
  • Stay off sidewalks
  • Wear a helmet and remember that for children under 18, it’s the law
  • Signal your turns and stops
  • Perform a safety inspection on your bike regularly 
  • Ride with the flow of traffic
  • Yield to pedestrians and give warning when approaching and pass on the left

At Carraway, we’re excited for back to school and for the return of our Crosswalk Safety Ambassador program. Learn more about the great work our ambassadors do in communities across the Greater Toronto Area.