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Summer is winding down, and schools across the country are resuming. With school buses transporting children from home to school and back each day, this is a great time to sit down and review school zone safety. While the majority of your hauls may be on the interstate, there will be times you’ll find yourself on a state route (or even smaller road). Staying proactive and informed is the key to keeping children safe.

Reduced speeds
While the number is not consistent, all school zones have reduced speed limits during drop-off and pick-up hours. These are obviously for safety reasons; but as a part of your route planning, take note if you’ll be passing any schools during the mid-morning or mid-afternoon hours. Some schools even have blanket reduced speeds during the entire school day, so be sure to pay attention to speed signs as you approach any school.

Stopped buses
If you’re traveling on state routes in rural areas, you’re bound to be stopped by a school bus at least once during your driving career. Similar to driving through larger cities during rush hour, if you’re going to be driving through the rural areas, try to hit them before or after bus routes are finished. Imagine your frustration as a bus stops every couple hundred yards for several miles along a rural state route.

And while it may go without saying, whether you are behind the bus or approaching it, it is illegal to pass a bus with its red lights or stop sign displayed. Depending on the nature of the school district, kids may need to cross the road. Some school districts make sure kids leave the bus on the same side as their stop, but this isn’t always possible.

Crosswalks may not be a huge concern in the countryside, but many state routes do go through smaller towns. In many cases, children may not be bused home, so you’ll encounter crossing guards who stop traffic to allow kids to cross safely. Again, take a moment to look at maps and be aware of any school zones you may go through, so you know whether to be on the lookout for them.

Traffic congestion
Another thing to keep in mind is traffic patterns that will emerge with parents dropping off or picking up their children. While most school districts place their drop-off and pick-up areas on side streets or roads, it’s still wise to be aware of the increase in traffic that will result from parents coming and going.

School zone safety is always worth taking a moment to review. Regardless of whether you’re driving a big rig or a consumer automobile, it’s always a good idea to remind ourselves what is most important here: our children. We at Roeder Cartage take safety serious. Learn more about how driver safety is our top priority.