No matter how much you may try to avoid side streets and roads that run right through town, eventually your route will take you through a school zone or past a school bus stop. Now that school is back in session, all drivers, but especially truck drivers, need to be more careful. Here’s what you need to know to keep yourself and everyone else safe.
Avoid Side Streets During Peak School Times
Whenever possible, avoid smaller neighborhoods or the side streets that run through town during times when kids are going to and from school. In most cases, this will be early morning and mid-afternoon. As you plan your route, think about what time you’ll reach certain areas and do your best to adjust for school traffic. When you can, stick to interstates and highways during those times.
Limit Distractions While Driving
This is good advice even when you’re not driving through school traffic, but it’s especially important now. Put down your phone, don’t fiddle with your equipment, and try not to talk too much as you drive through school zones. You need to be alert for school buses, pedestrians, and small children who might dart out into traffic.
Pay Attention to Speed Limits
The speed limit will change abruptly when you enter and leave a school zone. But not all zones require the same speed. In some cases, you’ll need to maintain 15 miles per hour, and in others 20 or 25 mph. Look for flashing lights and signals that let you know you’re entering the school zone, but don’t rely on that. If you see school buses, kids on their bicycles, and lots of children walking on sidewalks, go ahead and slow down.
Watch for School Buses
Just like your truck, a school bus has a lot of weight behind it. Slamming on the brakes means it will take a bus more time to stop than a small car requires. Keep your distance when you’re behind a school bus and avoid sudden braking when a bus is driving behind you. Always stop at a bus stop when you’re behind or across the road from a school bus. The only exception is when you’re driving on a divided highway or road and you’re traveling in the opposite direction.
Watch for Pedestrians
You already know to watch for pedestrians in high population areas, but school zones require a lot more attention. Children should use crosswalks and wait for the signal to cross, but they don’t always follow the rules. Crossing guards aren’t always stationed at a crosswalk, either. Kids will dart out into traffic or from around parked cards without looking first. So it’s our job to look out for them. Slow down near parked cars and before you get to the school zone to avoid a tragic accident.
To help you plan routes now that kids are back in school, use a fleet management system with an advanced GPS system. You can track your equipment so you know where it is at all times — and better plan your routes to avoid as many school zones as possible. Contact Gorilla Safety today!