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It’s back-to-school time and the perfect opportunity to discuss some back-to-school safety tips provided by ONEC’s HSE Department for this month’s ONEC Advantage Blog Edition.

As school doors open, traffic increases, families and children return from holiday, and school buses resume their routes. So, as we prepare to say goodbye to summer, let’s talk back-to-school safety.

For Drivers

  • Give yourself extra time. Traffic is often more congested during the first few weeks of school, and your drive times may be affected.
  • Watch for pedestrians. More children are walking, biking, and getting dropped off in school zones during this time.
  • Slow down. Reduce your speed and obey posted speed limits (30 km/hr in most school zones). Slowing down and being attentive are vital to keeping people safe.
  • Stop for school buses. If a school bus displays flashing red lights and an extended stop arm, traffic in both directions must stop. You may only continue when the lights stop flashing.
  • Keep your distance when following school buses as they stop frequently. Leave room for sudden stops and children boarding or exiting the bus.
  • Drive safely. Do not overtake other vehicles and avoid U-turns and three-point turns in school zones or near crosswalks.
  • Obey crossing guards. Pay close attention to cues from crossing guards and ensure you allow pedestrians and crossing guards to reach the sidewalk before you proceed.
  • Avoid distractions and focus on driving. Distracted driving is illegal and dramatically impacts reaction time should something happen while driving through a school zone.

For Students & Pedestrians

  • Plan your route. It’s a good idea to map out your walking route to school ahead of time.
  • Avoid distractions and focus on walking. Put away electronic devices, cell phones, and earbuds so you can hear approaching traffic and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Don’t jaywalk. Always cross the road at an intersection, designated crosswalks, or with a crossing guard.
  • Crossing basics include stopping at the curb, looking left and right for oncoming vehicles, and looking over your shoulder for cars making turns. When the intersection is clear, start to cross and keep a watchful eye on traffic.
  • Avoid shortcuts/cutting through parked cars on roadways. It’s harder for drivers to see you!
  • Walk on the inside edge of the sidewalk away from the road, so you’re further away from traffic. Walk facing oncoming traffic if there is no sidewalk, so you can see approaching vehicles and make eye contact with drivers.
  • Be seen. Wear bright clothes and/or reflective gear, especially at night and in poor weather.

Back-to-school can be an exciting time of year! Let’s make it a safe time, also. We wish you all the best as you prepare for the new school year!

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