It’s that time of the year again, when backpacks and notebooks go on sale and school buses hit the streets.  Even if your days as a student are long behind you and you don’t have any school-age children, you’re bound to notice the start of a new academic year. That makes this a great time to brush up on some back-to-school driving safety reminders.

  1. Give yourself extra time in the morning. During the summer, the lack of parents and buses on the roads can mean that the morning rush hour eases up a little. If you’ve gotten used to leaving home a little later, you might need to readjust your schedule. Even if you don’t go through any school zones, there will be more people on the roads, and traffic may slow down as a result. Avoid frustration by giving yourself some extra time.
  2. Don’t pass school buses with red lights flashing. According to California law, you are required to stop for a school bus with a flashing red light signal. This is true whether you are meeting or overtaking the bus, regardless of your direction. However, if you are on a divided highway or a multilane highway (with at least two lanes in each direction), you do not need to stop if you are driving on the opposite side.
  3. Slow down for school zones. Those school zones will be active again. Remember to pay attention and slow down.
  4. Look out for children. You need to look out for children in and around school zones, especially on crosswalks. If there are crossing guards present, follow their signals. Keep in mind that children will be outside these areas, too. Whether they’re walking to school or their bus stop, there will be more children out in the morning, so look out for them. Also remember that children may not always signal their intentions clearly. Try to make eye contact with children who are crossing the street. Don’t assume that a child will wait for you to pass before crossing.
  5. Look out for teen drivers. Many teens will be on the road, especially if you drive near a high school. Remember that these drivers are less experienced. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the crash rate for 16-year-olds is 3.7 times higher than it is for drivers of all ages. On top of their inexperience, the teens may be sleep-deprived in the early mornings before school – not a good combination for safe driving. Be extra cautious to avoid any accidents.

With a little caution, we can keep our roads safe so everyone can get off to a great start. All of us at Dashers Auto Insurance wish you and your kiddos a fun and productive school year!