Back-to-school road safety: tips for drivers, caregivers and students

With the new school year starting soon, school buses will be back on the roads and students will be active in and around schools and playgrounds.

We all have a role in keeping kids safe as they return to the classroom. Drivers must slow down and be aware, and students must understand how to make safe choices when they’re near the road.

Kids run onto the school bus wearing their jackets and backpacks.

Tips for drivers

When driving in and around school and playground zones, slow down. Decreasing your speed to 30 kilometres per hour makes it easier for you to stop suddenly and significantly reduces the severity of injuries if you hit someone.

When travelling in school zones, look out for crossing guards and follow their directions, even if they are different from traffic lights or signs.

School buses are a good indication that children are in the area. If you see a school bus, pay attention to its lights and signs.

  • Flashing yellow or amber lights means the bus is preparing to stop.
  • Flashing red lights means the bus is stopped and children are likely getting on or off the bus. If red lights are flashing or the driver’s side stop sign is extended, you cannot pass a bus. Stop 20 metres (about four to five car lengths) from the bus if you are behind a bus or approaching one on an undivided highway. Failing to stop means you could face a $567 fine and six demerit points.

Tips for caregivers and students

We encourage caregivers to talk with students about things they can do to keep safe when getting to and from school. Below are some simple reminders that can make a big difference:

  • If walking in areas without sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
  • When walking, avoid using devices or gadgets that could be distracting
  • If you have to cross the road, make eye contact with drivers first.
  • Walk to the bus stop, don’t run. Stand five steps back from the road at your bus stop; don’t enter the roadway.
  • Wait for the bus to make a complete stop and doors open before approaching and boarding the bus.
  • Always listen to the bus driver; they are helping keep you safe.
  • While on the bus, stay seated and always face forward. Keep your head, hands and arms inside the bus

Learn more about school bus safety

Know the Signs

Signs tell drivers what to do, so watch for them to help do your part.

School Zone

In a school zone, the speed limit is 30 km/h (unless otherwise posted) on school days from 8 to 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3 to 4:30 p.m., unless otherwise posted.

You cannot pass another vehicle travelling in the same direction as you when in a school zone.

Playground Zone

In a playground zone, the speed limit is 30 km/h every day from 8:30 a.m. to one hour after sunset, unless otherwise posted.

You cannot pass another vehicle travelling in the same direction as you when in a school zone.

School Bus Stop Ahead

If you see this sign, it indicates there is a school us stop ahead. Be prepared to stop and watch for children loading on or off the bus.

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