WINNIPEG — School zone speed limits have been back in effect for three days now, preparing drivers for when classes resume on September 8.
CAA Manitoba is reminding motorists to slow down and take extra caution while travelling through school zones. It may be an adjustment for some drivers, who haven’t had to encounter large groups of schoolchildren on the roads since classes were suspended in late March due to COVID-19.
“As students prepare to reunite with friends and classmates after a six-month hiatus, many might forget to take the extra precautions needed to stay safe,” says Heather Mack, manager of government and community relations for CAA Manitoba.
“This means there is an even bigger responsibility to watch for children travelling to and from school.”
CAA has the following tips for drivers to ensure safety while in school zones:
- Make eye contact with children: With the excitement of back to school, anticipate that children may not easily see or hear your moving vehicle. Make eye contact with passing pedestrians and cyclists.
- Reduce traffic by walking: Incorporate a short walk into your commute to school. CAA encourages parents to park a block away and walk to school, if possible, to reduce congestion and make school zones safer.
- Slow down: Know the speed limit in your neighbourhood’s school zones and respect them.
- Watch for more school buses: Always stop for the buses’ flashing lights and wait for children to get safely on or off. Stay alert and watch for children or parents crossing the road when the bus moves on.
- Choose a safe spot to drop off and pick up your children from school: Follow your school’s rules and don’t park illegally, it can put your child’s safety at risk. Instead, use the designated drop off areas or consider a spot a bit farther away from school that is easily accessible and safe.
According to a CAA poll, nearly 25 percent of drivers reported witnessing a near miss or collision in a school zone, more than half of which involved a child. The poll also revealed 70 percent of Canadians said they have witnessed someone speeding in a school zone.