By now, most students in Alberta have returned to classrooms across the province with the associated increase in pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle traffic.
As a way to help students, parents, and drivers remain safe as everyone gets back into the routine of the school year, the Alberta RCMP has released some safety tips.
The first several tips are for parents and guardians; first, identify and show children a safe route to walk to school ensuring they know the safe use of crosswalks and other traffic control devices.
Second, with the onset of winter weather fast approaching, remind children that just because they can see a vehicle it can not necessarily see them. Rain, snow, fog, and darkness can all impair a driver’s visibility; teach children to cross a road only after making eye contact with the driver.
Third, let kids know that loud music or texting while walking can distract them from the hazards around them, increasing the likelihood of being hit by a vehicle.
Fourth, if waiting for a school bus, have kids be aware of traffic hazards, have a safe place to wait, and remind them to never chase after a missed bus as the driver, or other motorists, are unlikely to see them.
Fifth, with decreased light and visibility in the morning and evening, brightly coloured, reflective, clothing can help children be visible to passing motorists.
Finally, remind children not to assume that they have the right of way; when meeting a child at the bus stop after school, wait at the stop and not across the street as the kids may see the parent and dart across the road either assuming the right of way or forgetting traffic safety rules altogether.
Drivers are not being left out of the safety equation, with the RCMP directing a few tips towards them as well.
First, be on the lookout, especially earlier in the day and in the late afternoon, for children walking to and from school when pulling out of your garage or driveway.
Second, remember that during dim and dark mornings or evenings pedestrians can be harder to see, and the closer you are to a school the more likely you are to come across them, particularly during peak times.
Third, do not pass a school bus when it has its red lights flashing and its arm is extended; it is illegal and unsafe, and drivers in both directions must stop until the arm retracts and the lights are turned off.
Finally, drivers need to be aware of school zones and be alert for students during school hours, particularly at pick-up and drop-off times.
“By remembering these few simple traffic safety tips, students, parents and drivers can help one another enjoy a safe school year,” states Sgt. Darrin Turnbull, in the release.
“Each person has a part to play to ensure that everyone using the roads in Alberta, does so in a manner which is safe for all Albertans.”
For more traffic safety information, follow #Safety101 on Facebook on the @RCMPinAlberta Facebook page and @RCMPAlberta on X(formerly Twitter).