With just two weeks to go before the school year begins, ICBC is not only asking parents to prepare their children to get to and from school safely but is also letting drivers know they have a role to play too.
The province's automobile insurer issued tips this week for all three groups to review in the run up to the first day of classes.
- When school is back in session, dont forget that every school day, unless otherwise posted, a 30-km/h speed limit is in effect in school zones from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- When youre dropping off your children in school zones, stop and allow them to exit the car on the side closest to the sidewalk. Never allow a child to cross mid-block.
- If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding to a pedestrian, so be prepared to stop. Always yield to pedestrians - its the law.
- School buses will be back on our roads. Vehicles approaching from both directions must stop for school buses when their lights are flashing.
- Before getting into your vehicle, make a habit of walking around your vehicle to make sure no small children are behind it. Always look for pedestrians when youre backing up.
Tips for parents and students:
- Post these safety tips in your home and review them with your children - even older children need to be reminded about road safety.
- Remove your headphones and put away your phone or other gadgets when crossing the street. Focus on the road so you can see, hear and respond safely.
- Make eye contact with drivers, so you both know you see each other.
- Road safety lessons should be fun and interactive. Memorize the chorus of Walk n Roll, a song by childrens musician Will Stroet, which is included in ICBCs kindergarten to grade three road safety curriculum: Wear something bright; Look left and look right; Wait for the light; Make sure youre in the drivers eyesight.
- Teach your child to cross at intersections that have a pedestrian crossing light or a marked crosswalk whenever possible. Even at a crosswalk, be aware of traffic and always make sure that vehicles are stopped before walking. Use designated crossing points and follow pedestrian traffic signs and signals.
- Dress to be seen. Wear bright or light coloured clothing. In dark or bad weather, wear reflective material on clothes or accessories.
- Always walk on the inside edge of the sidewalk. This way, youre further away from traffic. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic so you can see oncoming vehicles and drivers see you.
- Be aware of parked vehicles in a parking lot or on the road. A driver may not see you between parked vehicles and you may not see them moving. Before crossing or walking through a parking lot, stop and look left-right-left around parked vehicles. Children should avoid taking shortcuts through parking lots.
In North Central B.C., on average, seven children aged five to 18 are killed and 340 injured in 1,090 crashes every year, according to ICBC numbers.