Drive Safe! School and Playground Safety
Spring has officially sprung, and in Alberta we are enjoying mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine. Best of all, we can finally see the green grass emerging after a long, white winter. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere that the weather stays warm all year round, we are jealous! However, no matter the weather, or where you live, it is always a great reminder to drive safe, especially in school and playground zones. So, today, let’s chat about how to keep little ones safe!
With the change in weather, and being cooped up for the winter, kids are excited to be able to be back outside playing. What does this mean for drivers? Well, it means more traffic and road stress, and excited kids running, playing with friends, biking, and skateboarding on the sidewalks and streets. All drivers should familiarize themselves with the indicators that schools or playgrounds are near and use extra caution while driving through these areas. Safe driving in school and playground zones is essential to avoid car accidents, personal injuries and protect children.
The speed limit in a school zone is 30 km/h between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. during the weekdays. The speed limit near a playground is 30 km/h from dawn to dusk every day of the year. However, children are known to frequent school playgrounds outside of regular school hours, meaning that speed should be reduced near a school or playground zone 24/7.
With distracted driving at an all-time high, parents and educators must teach children proper road rules. There are some basic guidelines to pinpoint when discussing street safety with children.
This can include the following:
- Teach your children a safe route to and from school. If you can walk or drive your children to school, do so. If not, teach your children not to talk to strangers, and identify safe homes with their route home where they can go if they are scared.
- Dress kids in bright colours (especially when overcast or in the evening).
- Always cross the street at a marked crosswalk.
- Crosswalk safety:
- Stop at the curb or edge of the street
- Wait for the walk signal
- Look both ways before leaving the curb (left, right, left, behind and in front)
- Look both ways continuously while crossing the street
- Make eye contact with all drivers
- Don’t run. Walk across the street
- Never walk behind a vehicle
- Never assume a driver will see you. Make sure vehicles are stopped before stepping onto the street.
- Focus! Put your books and all electronic devices away until you arrive safely home.
- Distracted walking can be just as dangerous as distracted driving.
As a driver, make sure you are following proper crosswalk procedures and be aware of them in school and playground areas. In Alberta, pedestrians have the right of way, even if the crosswalk is unmarked. Always give people crossing ample space and allow them time to safely get across the street. Not yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk can land you a $810 fine and 4 demerit points.
We want everyone to stay safe on the road! Remember to follow the rules of school and playground zones to ensure every child gets home safe and sound.