By Sarah Klein
Thousands of kids across Manitoba are returning to class this week and motorists are being reminded to slow down in school zones.
Reduced speed limits around 171 school zones in Winnipeg came back into effect September 1, decreasing the speed to 30 km/h Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
“Parents and motorists need to remember that children are sometimes unpredictable. For drivers, the focus when behind the wheel should be solely devoted to the road,” said Ward Keith with Manitoba Public Insurance.
Helping keep children on their way to school will be 12,000 young patrols province-wide as part of the School Safety Patrol Program. CAA Manitoba coordinates the program, which includes more than 200 schools in Winnipeg.
MPI offers the following safety tips to drivers, parents and pedestrians:
- Look well ahead to spot school buses and school zone signs; reduce speed in school zones, and wait for children to cross completely before proceeding.
- Stop at least five metres behind a school bus when the upper red lights are flashing, and do not proceed until the “stop sign” is closed and the red lights stop flashing. Motorists travelling in both directions must stop for the school bus, except if the road is divided by a median.
- Scan under parked cars for the feet of children approaching traffic, and make lane changes early to allow room for children on bicycles, skateboards or roller blades.
- If you are driving your children to school, drop them off in a safe area, away from traffic; use a designated drop-off zone if the school has one.
- Cross only at intersections whenever possible, preferably at those controlled by patrols, signs or traffic control signs.
- When crossing the street, regardless of the availability of signals, cross as quickly as possible. Minimize time in the roadway.
Most students in Winnipeg returned to classes on Wednesday, while teachers returned on Tuesday.