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## Zone in on School Zones

*“Our children depend on your leadership”* is a message that has been presented many times in a variety of ways to remind drivers of safe driving behaviors to prevent serious injury and death to children in car accidents. But how many hammer home this message while speeding across the school grounds to work on time? How many remember this message when texting a spouse, friend, or co-worker as they drive to school?

Many child pedestrians are killed on the streets or sidewalks of their schools because of the carelessness and inattention of drivers. In 2009, 183 child pedestrians between the ages of 5 and 15 were killed in car accidents. In 2008, 20% of all children between the ages of 5 and 9 killed nationwide in traffic accidents were pedestrians, that’s 78 deaths. Here is another message to remember while driving: *“Slow down, you’re not far from school.”*

In most schools the school zone speed limit is 15 or 20 mph. Special speed limit signs are posted around schools to warn people as they enter the area. These features have flashing lights to let you know when low speed is in effect. There is also a sign that shows when you have left the school premises. The reasons for reducing the speed limit in the presence of school children are obvious. Children will cross the street on foot and by bicycle. There will be additional traffic for parents picking up their children. Children are also unpredictable so one never knows when a child will quickly cross the street when they shouldn’t. In addition, there will be school buses to and from the school. Therefore, the following are many **safety in the school environment** tips and what you need to know for motorists:

- Because of their size, it is difficult for children to see motorists or motorists. Because their peripheral vision is about one-third narrower than an adult’s, children cannot see a driver coming to the right or left as quickly as an adult can.
- Children also have trouble seeing the speed and distance of a car, and often think that if they can see the driver, the driver sees them.
- Drivers must
**check speed limits**at all times,*but especially about children*. When driving in school zones, near playgrounds, or in areas where children may be playing, motorists should always be on the lookout for a child to run off the road. - When turning left on a green light or turning right on red, drivers must look out for pedestrians as well as cars. Pedestrians always have the right of way in these situations.
- Please be kind to the school guards. These guards give many hours helping our children cross the busy streets as they arrive and leave school. Crossing guards often encounter hostile attitudes from people who are more concerned with their own agendas than the safety of school children.
- While picking up children, do not stop or park in the crosswalk.
- Avoid using cell phones in and around school. If you are texting, talking or calling, it can affect your ability to react quickly. Also, children’s actions can be unpredictable. Also many drivers miss school zone speed limit signs and signals due to cell phone distraction.
- When the school bus stops you must stop. Never pass a school bus loading or unloading children. Passing a stopped school bus is a four point offense and is very dangerous.
- place order
**Conducting SIPDE formula security**on school premises. S= Search*(driving area)*I = Identify (*established or potential risks*), P= Predict*(the worst thing that can be done by other drivers or passengers in such cases)*D=Finish*(What will you do to avoid the accident),*E=Execute*(do what you decided to do)*.

In the case of a school zone, an example would be: SEE school zone; CHECK for any potential or predicted hazards such as children walking too close to the footpath; PREDICT the worst way children can do, such as crossing the street suddenly or crossing it between moving vehicles; Decide what you will do such as maintaining a safe following distance, slowing down a few miles even though you are driving within the speed limit, and paying close attention to the nature of the school grounds; and finally MAKE your decisions.

No preoccupation, personal agenda, or impatience should cause children to be killed in car accidents. By establishing a thought process and mindset every day while we drive, we can be key contributors to a cooler driving environment.

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