Going back to school is a hectic time for families; juggling supply lists and schedules is enough to make any parent frazzled. It’s easy to understand how safety may sometimes take a backseat during these preparations. As a leader in traffic safety, AAA suggests all families take this important quiz to brush up on their knowledge to ensure a safe start to the school year.
• True or False: Vehicles must obey the speed limit in school zones until they pass the crosswalk.
False. Vehicles must travel the speed limit of 15 mph in/near school zones from the first to the last sign, regardless of the placement of the signs. The speed limit must be obeyed whether or not children are present.
• True or False: You may pass a vehicle in a school zone so long as you remain under the 15 mph limit.
False. It is illegal to pass a vehicle in the school zone at any time, even if the vehicle remains under the speed limit. In addition, violations in school zones may result in fines being doubled.
• True or False: Vehicles must stop for school buses if they are displaying flashing lights.
True. Drivers must always stop for school buses that are loading and unloading students. It is illegal to pass a school bus with flashing red lights, regardless of the direction you are traveling. The only exception to this is if you are on a divided roadway with a physical barrier, such as a median. In these instances, drivers traveling the opposite direction are not required to stop.
• True or False: Bicyclists should always ride with traffic, instead of against it.
True. In order to minimize the risk of being hit by drivers pulling out of driveways and intersections, bicyclists should ride with traffic. In addition, bicyclists should always wear a properly-fitting helmet to reduce injuries and reflective clothing to maximize visibility.
• True or False: Since school parking lots are crowded, it’s often a good idea to drop kids off in a nearby neighborhood street where it’s less busy.
False. School parking lots may be hectic, but it’s always best to drop kids off on school grounds. If children need to cross the parking lot, teach them that “parked” vehicles might move. Let them know that even though they can see the vehicle, the driver might not be able to see them. As a driver, always remember to scan between parked cars for signs that children could dart into the road.
Lastly, if your children ride to school in a motor vehicle, remind them they must buckle up, each and every time. In addition, ensure all children are in the proper seat. Passengers under age 9 should be in a child safety seat, such as a booster seat, and children 13 and younger should ride in the backseat.
Using a child safety seat may seem easy enough, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated three out of four parents do not properly use child restraints.
Heeding these important tips will ensure the school year is off to a safe start.
• Linda Gorman is the communications and public affairs director for AAA Arizona, a safety advocate for all road users. For more information and resources on traffic safety, visit https://www.az.aaa.com/news/traffic-safety.